What are our “roads not taken”? In some other timelines, we take them!

What are our “roads not taken”? In some other timelines, we take them!

“Everything that can happen IS happening,” in the simultaneous times of NOW in our multiverses’ alternate timelines. (Great video/book citation, here, from particle physicist and author, Brian Cox, Ph.D.: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/scienceshow/the-quantum-universe/4376486 .)

What other lives are you living, particularly in your work/professional sectors?
What if…?

CHOICE POINTS image from http://bigpicturequestions.com/what-is-linear-time-vs-nonlinear-time/

For more about this and other aspects of the lived multiverse in a fictional context, please pick up my ebooks or paperbacks in the utopian science-fiction/romances for adults/NA/YA in The Spanners Series; links, blurbs, trailers, covers, more for the first three Volumes {Volume I, This Changes Everything, is permafree in ebook format} are here: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners

My current and alternate timelines’ professions/work activities:
(I have worked as/in most of these, but not to the extent of having any be the focus of my entire life. My Curriculum Vitae [professional rèsumè] is over 5 pages long!)

How would my life have been different had I worked in/stayed longer in any one of these?

—recreation leader
—field hockey coach
—girls’ softball coach
—cheerleading coach
—camp counselor/camp director
—WSI [Water Safety Instructor]/waterfront director/lifeguard trainer/supervisor/swimming teacher
—canoeing instructor
—umpire (home plate and base), adult softball leagues
—classroom teacher (elementary, middle or high school) through retirement
—college professor (writing, teacher education) through tenure and retirement/Emerita status
—preschool teacher through retirement
—adult/community education instructor through retirement
—mother of more than one (birthing, fostering, adopting, step-parenting)
—world traveler

cast of Crystal Dreams, a play I wrote, directed and narrated
1984, Keene, New Hampshire

[I am second from the left, as “The Woman from the Well of Memories.”]

—political leader (elected, appointed)
—community/political organizer
—union representative/organizer
—psychic consultant (for individuals, police, organizations)
—spiritual teacher/leader/group member
—Buddhist nun
—meditation teacher
—research scientist
—medical doctor
—medical clairvoyant diagnostician
—bookkeeper/data processor/entry clerk
—multilingual translator (Spanish, Italian)
—nonprofit manager
—nonprofit event planner/cook

cast of Rainbow Over the Junkyard, a play I starred in, co-wrote songs for and accompanied, conceived and directed by Mario Cossa
1983, Keene, New Hampshire

[I am in the back row, second from the left, as “Megan Andrews” and the color, orange.]

—article & news writer/freelance reporter
—playwright (dramas/musicals)
—poet/lyricist/parody writer
—film/theatre/TV critic
—theatre teacher/director (dramas/musicals)
—musician (pianist)
—piano teacher/music teacher (beginners/children)

I am reading from This Changes Everything, Volume I of The Spanners Series
2013, Fremont Writers’ Group, BookSmart, Newport Mall, California

What about yours?


Re-issued & Updated: “#Utopian #Sci-fi/ #Speculative Fiction: Why it’s Intriguing and Necessary”

My guest blog post on Tonya R. Moore‘s Sci-Fi site from July, 2014, re-issued/ updated today!

#Utopian #Sci-fi/ #Speculative Fiction: Why it’s Intriguing and Necessary

utopia3.inline vertical

image from http://www.nypl.org (New York Public Library)

Writers are often exhorted to “write the books we want to read,” especially when they seem not to exist, yet. I am following that advice with The Spanners Series. I know what I want to read and what I can’t find because I am a life-long, avid reader. I have probably read hundreds of thousands of books in my 60 years of reading independently and quickly, sometimes enjoying ten books a week. If I say that books like mine—–more utopian sci-fi/speculative fiction series like The Spanners—–don’t yet exist, I’m probably correct.

However, there is a long history of utopian sci-fi that spawned speculative fiction and inspired technological and biological/ medical breakthroughs/ inventions and social and political change over many centuries. Ann Grindley’s article from May, 2014, http://www.fact.co.uk/news-articles/2014/05/utopia,-limited-what-can-sci-fi-tell-us-about-our-future.aspx, “Utopia, Limited: What can sci fi tell us about our future?” offered these insights:

Civilisations that do demonstrate utopian qualities have surpassed our view on money, weaponry and material wealth and anxiety. They have matured past our inequalities and share a common goal. This goal is usually scientific, in a sense that they have discovered, created, and utilise technology which unites people globally.

I don’t know which “civilisations” Ann Grindley referred to, but I’d like to find them!

Grindley seemed to be quite supportive of my intentions when she stated: “I’d like to think utopia still requires creativity and pleasure through art, although maybe utopians won’t need escapism.”

Grindley also verbalized my heartfelt wish: “It is wonderful how even in our social and political density and under-development, that we can imagine an idyllic and model world…” But then, she recognized the possibility that “our ideas of utopian and dystopian futures are only limited to our current knowledge and understanding, and perhaps that is why, in reality, we’re yet to achieve the fantasy; the fiction in our science. Perhaps utopia is beyond our imagination as well as our means.”

Well, perhaps our imagination is not that limited! Check out these sci-fi/ speculative fiction inventions and ideas that have become “real” as researched by Annalee Newitz, from March, 2014: http://io9.com/7-utopias-that-changed-the-future-1541411068. Newitz described several utopian sci-fi books whose ideas or inventions have influenced our lives directly, including:

Communism by Karl Marx
“Marx’s powerful vision…inspired coups, union movements, and even hippie communes….Pop versions of Communism inspired many ‘soft’ revolutions in the uprisings of the 1960s,… often inspiring positive social changes and greater freedoms.”

Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Herland is a lost island nation where everyone is equal, goods are plentiful, and war is unknown. It is an enlightened, scientifically advanced society where everyone is educated and healthy…[and it is all] run and populated entirely by women…. This idea, that woman leaders would create a far less cruel and authoritarian world than men have, has influenced everything from philosophy to feminist politics.”

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World…[influenced] the Occupy movement, which is in part a rebellion against capitalist societies that try to distract people with happy consumerism, instead of addressing problems with the disparity between rich and poor.”

Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry
“Freed from the need for money and from the horrors of war, humans in the Star Trek universe devote their lives to exploration or productive work that is freely chosen. But of course, Star Trek‘s vision is almost as old as Thomas More’s. The Enterprise is a lot like the Isle of Utopia, with elements of de Toqueville’s America, Marx’s Communism, and even Gilman’s Herland thrown in.”

Newitz summed up the utility of utopian sci-fi so perfectly: “Utopia, after all, has always been a fiction. But it’s one that can inspire us to change our worlds —sometimes, if we’re lucky, in a way that brings us just a little closer to our ideals.”

In her list, Newitz, of course, included:

Utopia by Thomas More
“Thomas More was a British writer who invented the word ‘utopia’ — from a Greek pun that means both ‘no place’ and ‘good place’ — for this book about his idea of the perfect society. Published in 1516, the book is about a man who has returned from the Isle of Utopia, where many of England’s social ills don’t exist.”

Just to prove the point—that sci-fi and speculative fiction continue to influence us—let’s go further into more specifics from this ground-breaking novel with these fascinating recognitions, from Charlie Jane Anders, “Things from Thomas More’s Utopia That Have Come True Today” http://io9.com/5967561/things-from-thomas-mores-utopia-that-have-come-true-today:

—Before getting married, you should see your partner naked.
—Divorce is allowed for a married couple who ‘do not well agree.
—You’re under constant surveillance…….there’s no private property and everybody works for the common good when they’re not farming…
—Utopians eat in public….[which] basically means they eat out. All the time.
—Criminals are marked for life.
—Euthanasia is supported and even encouraged
—Husbands and wives go to war together.

In fact, we owe the term “utopia” to Thomas More! According to: http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/utopias: “…[More] derived the word from ‘outopia’ (no place) rather than ‘eutopia’ (good place)….It can be argued that all utopias are sf, in that they are exercises in hypothetical sociology and political science….[A] significant shift in utopian thought took place when writers changed from talking about a better place (eutopia) to talking about a better time (euchronia)….[U]topias ceased to be imaginary constructions with which contemporary society might be compared, and began to be speculative statements about real future possibilities…”

I agree wholeheartedly with this, and sadly agree with this opinion as well: “[Some authors set out to show that] all utopian schemes are absurd, and that real people could not live in them.”

I think this explains a lot, particularly the reasons that dystopias are so much more prevalent in sci-fi: it’s easier to write about disaster and failure than to imagine what could actually work out for the best, since we almost never see “the best” occur IRL [In Real Life].

One researcher claimed: “Genre sf has never been strongly utopian…. they were often small enclaves facing imminent destruction”

I hold out for members of this “small enclave” to become leaders and inspirations in every generation.

These and others recognize the dilemmas we utopian writers of sci-fi and speculative fiction face: “The necessity for works of fiction to be dramatic and the fact that workable plots require conflict inhibit the use of sf to display utopian schemes.” I face this problem in my current series.

Because I don’t want to depict a lot of death, destruction, violence, apocalyptic futures and heartache, many readers request and editors demand that my series “show more conflict.” I resist. I do mention it and refer to it, but most of it happens off-camera, in the wings, so to speak, or in conversations between two or more characters rather than the ways most sci-fi authors and screenwriters choose to depict conflicts.

I can’t be the only one who is bored and disgusted by dystopias’ ubiquitous conflicts—large-scale, CGI “wars” and “battles,” martial arts “fights” resplendent with wires to create impossible acrobatics, and car or other vehicle chases—awful, because they supplant character development, plot depth and actual emotions. Am I wrong?

Unfortunately, dystopian futures abound in both fantasy and sci-fi. Most genre writers, even those that include romance in their stories, choose to depict increasingly worsening conditions on and around this planet and across their universes. In some imaginary incipient time, their “visions” of our future pile on the violence, showing increasing discord, more political and social unrest, deaths and destruction even worse than we have now.

We already have too much awfulness IRL for me to want to read about even worse to come.

Enough, already!

Fortunately, I am in good company. Conferences, seminars, webinars, zines and print currently devote a lot of time/space to these topics. I am encouraged, for example, by this exhortation to writers like me from a panel http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/nonfiction/women-remember-a-roundtable-interview/ moderated by Mary Robinette Kowal with Ursula K. Le Guin, Pat Cadigan, Ellen Datlow, and Nancy Kress, given in June, 2014, in which Kowal summed it up: “We write science fiction and imagine the future we want to live in. We want that future now.”

Kowal went on to say: “Seeing how the field has changed gives me perspective on the future that I’m living in and, hopefully, will help women writing today continue to destroy science fiction for subsequent generations of writers.”

Even more approval flows to us writers of utopian sci-fi when I saw that a July, 2014, Science-Fiction Symposium from the World Futures Society http://www.wfs.org had listed these events:

A. Panel Session: “Fiction as a Futuring Tool,” featuring Madeline Ashby, Trevor Haldenby, Glen Hiemstra, and Tom Lombardo. “The work of science fiction writers and futurists often informs, sometimes predicts, and occasionally affects the future.”

B. Panel discussion: “Hacking into Utopia: The Future of Optimistic Innovation,” featuring Ramez Naam (moderator), Gray Scott, Lindsea Wilbur, and Kevin Russell. “Science fiction writers have been talking about utopian futures for a long time. What are young writers and innovators doing right now to create such a future?”

C. Panel discussion: “What Current Science Fiction should Futurists Read?” featuring Vicki Stein (moderator) Glen Hiemstra, Brenda Cooper, Madeline Ashby, and Brad Aiken.

I wish I could have attended and I wished that they had put the discussions, above, online.

I believe we need some hope, ideas of how else things could go, whether or not I always believe they will take these turns. I am imagining routes for improvement for the entire multiverse.

I am not alone in believing in a more perfect future that, due to simultaneous time, is already “here.” Gray Scott, Futurist/Founder of SERIOUS WONDER™, http://www.seriouswonder.com/about/ and http://www.seriouswonder.com/category/scifi/, has this tagline on his website: “The future has already happened and technology is just the echo bouncing back at humanity.“ 

His “think-tank” self-describes in this way:

SERIOUS WONDER is a progressive future concept and technology website. We are obsessed with the future. Our mission is to bring our readers the best in futuristic ideas, technology, robotics, science, techno-philosophy, psychology, space travel, and modern concept design. Intense curiosity, positive intention and inspired imagination can transform our future. This future will be more magical and abundant than anyone could ever imagine. We are constantly looking for innovation and optimistic wonder. The future is our passion.

The future IS now!

Donna Dickens listed “science-fiction becomes science-fact” from 2012:
—Quadriplegic Uses Her Mind to Control Her Robotic Arm
—Stem Cells Could Extend Human Life by Over 100 Years

And, from 2013:
—Two rats have their brains telepathically linked.
—Portable device allows users to see through walls.
—Program allows user to remotely move objects with their hands.
—The world’s first fully mind-controlled synthetic leg goes for a stroll.

If you like these “Science-Fiction-Becomes-Science-Facts” lists? Check out this great chart/ infographic:

Here are some compelling reasons we need and want to have such optimistic creativity from writers of sci-fi:

The value of science fiction has been also recognised in the rise of a new method for designing technology, called design fiction. If science fiction stimulates the imagination about extraordinary views of the future, design fiction explores the futures that ordinary people would prefer. Design fictions—like short sci-fi films, prototypes and graphic novels—are provocative and engage people, encouraging them to envision, explain and raise questions about direction of future technology and society.

from https://www.theguardian.com/media-network/2015/aug/13/science-fiction-reality-predicts-future-technology

Then, we have the incredible Raymond Kurzweil. I first read about him in Mike Floorwalker’s post from March, 2013: http://listverse.com/2013/03/15/10-ridiculously-specific-predictions-that-came-true/ Kurzweil is an inventor and a futurist who is also the Director of Engineering at Google. According to Floorwalker, Kurzweil has “made dozens of predictions over the several decades—–with an absolutely unbelievable rate of accuracy. Not only do Kurzweil’s predictions almost always come true, he usually can accurately predict WHEN they will come true.”

As if that’s not enough, “…[i]n his novel, The Age Of Intelligent Machines, Kurzweil predicted: the fall of the Soviet Union by 1991; a computer’s beating the best human players at chess by 2000; and, wireless Internet’s becoming practical for mainstream use in the early 21st century. In The Age Of Spiritual Machines (1999), Kurzweil predicted ebooks, facial recognition software, and nanotechnology…” among other things!

Floorwalker stunned me with these stats on Kurzweil: “Kurzweil stated that by 2009, 89 out of 108 predictions he had made were entirely correct. Of the rest, 13 were ‘essentially correct’—likely to come true within a few years. A re-evaluation in 2012 determined that Kurzweil’s prognostications are correct a ridiculous 86 percent of the time—and the good news is, this is a man who has predicted that it won’t be too long before we humans conquer death altogether.”

Kurzweil is beyond a genius: he reinforces the existence of simultaneous time. How else do you explain his timely “inventions” and uncanny “predictions”? Floorwalker informed us: “His inventions are numerous—–text reading software, speech-recognition devices—–and five of his novels have been bestsellers.”

We sci-fi writers should ALL be more like Kurzweil!

I like to believe that I am predicting, prognosticating, prophesying and foretelling, since my stories depict better times in every way. Even when things are “bad,” there is more “good” than bad. I am continuing my utopian illusions in The Spanners Series.

In my current and future multiverses, all communicative beings, including humans, will have more pervasive and lasting peace, better circumstances and conditions, and inner spiritual strengths that lead to harmonious living: we can have it all!

Crush, Harassment, Unrequited Love and Stalking: Which do you know about?

Crush, Harassment, Unrequited Love and Stalking: Which do you know about?

Remember the expression: “mooning over someone?” (circa 1960s)> This described when we have a strong attraction for an oblivious person, one whom we might not even know well. We carry these feelings of yearning inside, in silence, but these feelings are not as invisible as we might believe (or wish), usually.

What about “having a crush”? Do people still “get crushed out” on another person? Usually pre-teens and teens do, but older ones can as well.

crush meme
image from http://www.picturequotes.com

When does unrequited love and its concomitant circumstances, activities and feelings become a crime or a symptom of mental illness?

Can our inner world be measured on some continuum or scale? Is there a set description of behaviors or frequency of actions that forces us to admit we have a problem? When does desire become obsession? When does wishing to be noticed become compulsion?

How many of his/her interests do we take on as our own so that we can be where s/he is “for our own reasons” (sports event, concert, coffee shop, dog show, political rally, nature walk…whatever)? How many times can we “drop by,” drive by, “happen to be” where our love object is/lives and pretend (especially to ourselves) that it is “just a coincidence”?

We think: what if it only takes “one more” for his/her to “come around”? This happens in fiction; can’t it happen for us? How many “secret admirer”-type notes, flowers, emails, texts, other little gifts can we offer or send, leave on someone’s car or doorstep in inbox, before that person feels uncomfortable enough to call the police and get a restraining order?

And, what about the recipient? How many contacts, requests, invitations, gifts does the object of our affect have to endure before s/he can hold up a hand and demand that we petitioners cease and desist? Don’t we each have a right to privacy, inviolate boundaries, being left alone if we so choose?

Have you been on the receiving end of any of this unexpected attention? At what point does it become unwanted to the point of harassment or stalking?

stalker not crush

Are signs of affection and sexual interest able to be labeled officially “unwanted” only after we realize (and then indicate overtly) that we do not reciprocate that person’s feelings and interest?

I ask because two of the main characters in my utopian/sci-fi/romance books in The Spanners Series, Clara Branon and Epifanio Dang, are embroiled in an on-again/off-again, does-he-or-doesn’t-he? (return her affections) multiverse/multiple timelines set of scenarios.


I wonder if I’m depicting Epifanio’s reactions and position accurately or fairly, or Clara’s persistence as if she’s mentally healthy when, perhaps, she is not. In some of them, Epifanio feels a bit stalked, we find out, but “comes around.” In others, his conversations and encounters with Clara prompt him to discover that he does return her affection (a bit belatedly or surprisingly… to him). In still others, he does not share her feelings.

If you are unlucky enough not to have read even Volume I of my series (This Changes Everything, free ebook on Smashwords, Kobo, iBooks, nook, Amazon; paperback $17.99 on CreateSpace and Amazon) what do you think of some of these real-life examples, below?

1) A well-educated, professional woman is in a high-powered, public position. Her male boss engaged in serial, non-stop harassment: he gave her horrifying, unwanted amounts of sexual interest and attention, and all the while he was married. She let him know right off not to touch her, to stop leaving notes, discontinue his arranging/ asking her to work late and be alone with him, etc., but he didn’t end any of it.

It seems pretty obvious that he violated every law and standard of human decency and scared the living SH*T out of her to boot. Plus, remember: he was already married. Plus, she TOLD HIM that she was completely not interested from the start. Plus, he was her boss. This went on for YEARS.

At one point, she asked for and got a transfer. But, a few months later, he re-arranged entire departments’ configurations to get back into her area and become her boss AGAIN!

She finally had to quit her job (on the advice of her medical provider because this guy and this situation were ruining her health). So, she’s suing for loss of income, mental anguish, being terrorized, etc., and because apparently she reported this to higher-ups and they DID NOTHING.

Clear harassment case, right?

image from http://www.xceliq.com

But, what if this had been the other way around?

2) What if the attention, gifts, contrivances to be alone and touch the person at work are mostly (but not exclusively) coming from an underling toward her boss? Rather than a male boss harassing a female employee, what if a female employee begs for attention from her boss? AND, they are both single.

Add these facts: the boss keeps inviting this employee to go to the movies, take walks, eat lunch out together, share many snacks and private conversations, for years. He chooses repeatedly to confide in this employee, but they offically do not “date” or even share a kiss or any sexual contact. However, this boss touches his employees (including this one) frequently (on the shoulder, on the hand, on the head, an arm around a waist or shoulders of both males and females).

Only after the employee makes her feelings known in a letter to her boss does he say “no.” She then stops asking or inviting him further and retreats to professional behavior, but he is clearly uncomfortable from that point on.

What options does that boss have when the employee is otherwise exemplary in her position and perhaps indispensable to a small company? How can that boss claim he was “harassed” when so much of their relationship was completely mutual?

Would not this be labeled a “mutual workplace romance,” just one without the overt sexual element, and one in which—unfortunately for them both—all the feelings were not mutual?

divorcing workwife meme

I think some cases are crystal clear, but others are more murky.

3) What do you think about relationships between consenting adult teachers and adult students, particularly when the student approaches the teacher and is the one asking for affection to be returned?

What if, when the student is checking if the feelings are mutual, s/he finds out they are not? Is the relationship able successfully going to be able to revert to more formal role relationships or is it ruined?

4) What about when peers have unequal feelings: neighbors, friends, colleagues, fellow members of whatever group? What if some or one of these pairs is already in a relationship?

Before we know for sure that our feelings of affection and perhaps love are going to be unrequited, it’s all fine, especially if we haven’t revealed anything and the other person can be ignorant or pretend not to know (yet). Or, is it?

Are other people actually that dense? Do they really “not know”?

To be sure, then, we have to ask. Right? How can we find out our status without asking? Aren’t there countless movies, TV shows, books and other examples from our lives in which the person who knows first about loving the other one “should have said something sooner” because the feelings really were mutual, but both were afraid to say so? A lot of time can be “wasted” by not declaring our feelings, true?

Here is my favorite movie scene (with a song, of course) in which the love revelation is welcomed and the feelings ARE mutual:

or https://youtu.be/rm5MDenG5QY
Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin, “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore,” from Rock of Ages.

Consider, though, when the feelings are not mutual: once we ask about theirs and reveal our own feelings, but we are not “on the same page,” is everything doomed between us? Do things between us become awkward to the point of having a relationships that is impossible to salvage?

crush hearts

Your stories and comments are welcomed here. I’m curious.

Why I #write utopian, #Buddhist-infused, #multiverse #scifi/rom #novels & why you should #read & share them.

Reposted from 10/30/13 and 2/5/15

Writers are often exhorted to write the books we want to read that seem not to exist, yet. I am following that advice with The Spanners Series, especially Volume I, This Changes Everything, which is now PERMAFREE, and also with subsequent volumes (Volume II, This Changes My Family and My Life Forever, released 6/9/14; look for Volumes III and IV in 2015).

I am an avid reader and have probably read hundreds of thousands of books in my 56 years of reading independently and quickly, sometimes devouring ten books a week. If I say books like mine—a series like The Spanners—don’t yet exist, I’m probably correct.

All buy links, reviews, interviews, readings and more: http://www.sallyember.com/Spanners Look right; scroll down.

Why am I writing #science-fiction/#romance, #Buddhist-infused, #multiverse/#multiple timelines #utopian #novels besides the reason already given? And, why should you read them? Because we live in a deteriorating, or degenerating Age, according to #Tibetan Buddhists (and probably many others I’m not bothering to research right now).

When I first hear this claim, I disbelieve it. Aren’t most things “improving” for humanity? Modern medicine, technology, transportation, knowledge of all types: in the 20th and 21st centuries, we are experiencing incontrovertible advances, mind-blowing progress, right? Plus, that POV is just such a downer!

Why would the Buddha’s followers propose and then Buddhist teachers and scholars maintain such a doom-and-gloom perspective on life? It’s not enough that Buddha focused his teachings on suffering and impermanence? Most Buddhists must be depressed: that’s what I thought.

I could understand why Tibetans, having been living under horrible oppression, genocide and cultural destruction under Chinese rule for decades, would be so pessimistic. But, we’re in the good ole’ USA: things are great here, right?

Not so much. I won’t go into the facts we all know now (even more than ever, thanks to Snodwen and Manning) about how screwed up the USA has been and still is, nor how terrible the economy is here and everywhere. I won’t provide the list. We all know too well the horrors of our modern life. Modern tragedies, however, are actually not even relevant to this discussion.

The “degenerating” part of our Age has little to do with actual external conditions. Our deterioration involves humans’ not being able to learn #dharma, not being able to find qualified and worthy Buddhist teachers, not being able to practice meditation well or at all. The Buddha’s teachings and Buddhists practitioners are what are degenerating, in what is called “The Third Age” or “The Latter Day of the Law.”

You can look this up. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Ages_of_Buddhism

My point is, dystopian futures abound. Most sci-fi writers, even those that include romance in their stories, write of increasingly worsening conditions on and around this planet and across the Universe. They pile on the violence, showing increasing discord, more political and social unrest, deaths and destructions even worse than we have now. We already have too much awfulness for me to want to read about even worse futures.

Enough, already: I believe we need some hope, ideas of how else things could go, whether or not I always believe they will take these turns. Since I can’t find this optimism in the daily news or libraries’ and bookstores’ fiction, I decide to create it. I need this in my personal life, for the USA, for the continent, the water, air and land: I am imagining routes for improvement for the planet and the entire universe.

When I #meditate, especially during a #retreat phase in which I was #contemplating lives of beings in the “God Realm,” it occured to me repeatedly that we live in opulence amid squalor, all over the planet. Beauty smack dab in the middle of ugliness, every day. #Yin and #yang. We do have to “take the good with the bad,” but do we have to emphasize the “bad”?

I do not.

In my novels, even when things are “bad,” there is more good than bad. Buddha teaches often that we have to discern between “good” and “bad” even as we know these are illusory. Many teachings expound on how there is NO “good” or “bad,” no “birth” and no “death,” no “coming” and no “going.”

While you puzzle over that, I’m going to continue my utopian illusions in The Spanners Series. In my current and future multiverses, beings, including humans, will have love, better conditions and dharma: they/we have it all!

Furthermore, I’m going to HOPE—even though we are instructed to meditate partly in order to relinquish all hope and all fear—that YOU read my books and enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them.

Please let me know! Write your comments here on this and other posts, on excerpts from my novel, and whatever else occurs to you. Let’s converse!

#Unrequited #Love is for Everyone: What’s Your Story?

[ First posted 9/14/13 and revised and re-posted, March, 2016]

#Unrequited #Love is for Everyone: What’s Your Story?

Unrequited  love image

With countless songs, stories, plays, poems about the pain and suffering, the noble martyrdom of the person who is rejected—s/he who lives the unrequited lover’s lonely life—everyone knows that part completely. What about the other person, the object of affection? How do those rebuffing love—the REJECTORS—actually feel?

What is the Point of View (POV) of the REJECTOR?

I decided to spend some time learning that role, getting inside the skin of the one who says: “No, I don’t love you that way,” in order to attempt to fulfill every writer’s goal of understanding all my created characters equally well.

I knew the feelings, thoughts, experiences and dreams of the one who is rejected inside and out (unfortunately). What in my past, real or fictional exposure, brings me to the inner story of the one doing the refusing?

  • REJECTORS don’t give a damn about the one who loves.

    One story, with me as the REJECTOR.
    There was a boy in my 7th-grade class of about 350 students who offered to carry my books as he walked me to class He also eagerly awaited me outside our classrooms when his class was the same or hung around nearby to escort me. He was nice and I appreciated the attention. However (nefarious music plays here), I had my heart set on someone else, someone who had no interest in me.

    Maybe, I wondered, if the one I was crushing on saw how much attention this boy is giving me, he would realize how interesting I am and turn his eyes more toward me? I ruthlessly and selfishly exploited the boy who was crushing on me without any regard for his well-being or feelings, I am ashamed to admit (almost fifty years later). If I could remember his name, I would try to find him online and apologize. Not only did my encouragement of his attention hurt his feelings by unfairly leading him on, it didn’t work. Not at all.

    What I do remember is the situation my ploy created: I was barely giving this nice boy my attention because I was eagerly and pathetically ogling my crush, hoping to win his heart by being appealing to someone else. Horrible. Unsuccessful. Embarrassing to admit, now.

    What does this experience teach me about the ways the object of someone’s unwanted affection might feel? It’s possible, unbelievable as it may seem to those of us doing the obsessing, that the target of our love barely gives us a thought. Having his/her own agenda, the only time the rejecting one might even deign to notice the one who longs for our love is in the few moments that person might somehow prove to be useful to our own goals. We who mean “no” sometimes don’t even bother actually to say “no.”

    We REJECTORS can be ruthlessly uncaring, unseeing, deliberately unaware and even disdainful of the rejected lover’s feelings.

    from http://www.joequatronejr.com

  • REJECTORS grow to hate and/or fear the ones offering them unwanted love.
  • REJECTORS pity the ones who hopelessly love them.
  • REJECTORS feel responsible, guilty and/or angry when unwanted love is pushing on them.
  • REJECTORS can’t view the unwanted lovers as valuable or appealing and certainly not as equals until/unless the situation is reversed or the power balance shifts in some other way.
  • REJECTORS are relieved and feel set free when the unwanted love or lover changes focus or departs.
  • REJECTORS feel stalked even when the lover is not officially a stalker. Hanging around or watching them, sending messages or calling—even with a legitimate reason—all feel stalker-ish when the REJECTORS already know how the lovers actually feel and what they want.
  • If by some miracle or switcheroo the REJECTORS begin to feel interested in the lovers, there will still be all the stones and weeds, the thick undergrowth of past hurts, confusions, assumptions and emotional potholes. Persistent and intense bushwhacking must be done before a pathway to a healthy relationship could be cleared; it may never be possible.

A great post by Gina Stepp on the subject of the impact of being the rejecting person that can help us all develop empathy for and understand the POV of the REJECTORS is Return to Sender: Unrequited Love is Painful for the Rejector, Too
from March 28, 2012


Put your own story in these one or more of these headings.
Use the comments section at http://www.sallyember.com/blog, copying/pasting the heading from your chosen area. Pseudonyms welcomed, especially of the other parties involved in your stories.

“Crowdcreators” wanted: Research Topics Included in the The Spanners Series


Below is a somewhat complete list of the research topics included in my sci-fi/ romance/ utopian series for Youth, New and older Adults, below.

I plan to include some excerpts from already-published Volumes that relate to many of these topics over the next several months as I keep writing (working on Volume IV of X right now).

Will this entice some collaborators for Volumes VIII and IX, I hope? I’m experimenting with “Crowdcreating” these two Volumes!

Volume VIII (YA-oriented: youth writers and those writing for youth) Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Youth Speak [expected release, June, 2019]

The Many Worlds Collective (MWC), a consortium of planet and star systems all around the multiverse, includes Earth in probationary membership (The Transition) since December, 2012, and full membership since January, 2018. Over a thirty-year, increasingly utopian period, Earthers who survive are adapting and adjusting. Although many changes in politics, climate, government and safety are obvious, the most important and significant changes are within each individual Earther, human and non-human.

Volumes VIII and IX share the individual stories of “everyone”―–ordinary people, primates, cetaceans and cephalopods―–as they learn to live in this forever-transformed and transforming multiverse.

Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Youth Speak focuses on stories from young Earthers (ages 11 – 25).

Volume IX (NA/Adults: New and older Adult writers and those writing for NA/Adults) to “Crowdcreate” those two Volumes with me.
Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Adults Speak [expected release, Dec., 2019]

The Many Worlds Collective (MWC), a consortium of planet and star systems all around the multiverse, includes Earth in in probationary membership (The Transition) since December, 2012, and full membership since January, 2018. Over a thirty-year, increasingly utopian period, Earthers who survive are adapting and adjusting. Although many changes in politics, climate, government, and safety are obvious, the most important and significant changes are within each individual Earther.

Volumes VIII and IX share the individual stories of “everyone”―–ordinary people, primates, cetaceans and cephalopods―–as they learn to live in this forever-transformed and transforming multiverse. Those who barely avoid Sequestering are possibly the most interesting of all.

Remaking Ourselves: Change Comes from Within, the Adults Speak focuses on stories from Spanners (ages 26-over 100 years old).

Deadline for responding to me about wanting to write, co-write, or contribute to a Chapter or more in either or both Volumes is January 31, 2017.

Research Topics Included in the The Spanners Series.
What are you particularly interested in or know a lot about already? Comment here: http://www.sallyember.com/blog

Alternate/Parallel Universes and Timelines
Black Holes
Cognitive Dissonance
Cultural Anthropology
Dark Energy
Dark Matter
Gender Identity
Human Biology
Materials Science
Morphic Resonance
Physical Anthropology,
Political Science
Quantum Physics and Entanglement
Sexual Orientation Identity
Social Change
Space Travel
“The Butterfly Effect”

Excerpt from This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III, The Spanners Series, CHAPTER ONE, Excellent Skills Program (ESP) Final Test, Level 11-A: Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator (CC), and Rabbi Moran Ackerman, Chief of OverSeers covert and Special Operations (OSOps)

Excerpt from This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, Volume III,
The Spanners Series

Excellent Skills Program (ESP) Final Test, Level 11-A: Dr. Clara Ackerman Branon, Ph.D., Chief Communicator (CC), and Rabbi Moran Ackerman, Chief of OverSeers covert and Special Operations (OSOps)

by Sally Ember, Ed.D.
Copyright 2015 Sally Ember, Ed.D.
St. Louis, MO

logo_1833057_print high rez  transparent

January 14, 2015/ November 2, 2014

Spanners - volume 3 cover final

Fantastic accomplishments seem like something unattainable and everyone doing the extraordinary seems to be unlike you until YOU do something amazing. Then you realize those talented, heroic leaders are not different from you in any important ways.
—Clara Branon, Ph.D., Earth’s Chief Communicator, 2012 – 2042, responding, at her retirement, to: “How do you feel about being the first global leader and liaison for Earth to the Many Worlds Collective?”


Improving accuracy/ Discernment of others’ accuracy

Earthers’ CC and OSOps Chief

Final Test Report to InterGalactic Council (IGC)
from “Led” and “Mick,” Assigned Trainers, Many Worlds Collective (MWC)

Excerpts from Video Transcript

[Simulation begins. Room appearance shifts to the setting of the exam. They are in a high-ceiling, large room of a rocky cave. It is mostly dark, but some stalactites glimmer above their heads, reflecting light from the cave’s entrance. A large pool of water is in front of Clara and Moran, between them and the entrance. There are stalagmites around and in the center of it, some apparently quite large. The way to the entrance seems blocked by them and the water, whose depth is unseen. The stalactites’ dripping into the pond are the only sounds.]

[Suddenly, the entire cave shudders several times. Rocks fall on Clara and Moran as the roof and walls crack. The pond roils. Some stalagmites crack and tumble down, further blocking the entrance. A few large rocks also fall and roll toward the entrance. A lot less light is visible at the mouth of the cave. Clara and Moran appear, seated on the cave floor, in the center.]

CLARA: Damn it, Moran. A cave? Why a cave? And, during a quake? Are you completely insane?
MORAN: It is fine, Aunt Clara. I timult our simulation and we do great.
CLARA: “Great”? Define “great”!
MORAN: You can trust me, you know.
CLARA: Trust is not my strong suit. As you well know.
MORAN: Noted. But, by Level 11, I believe you are supposed to be more, well, trusting. At least of me.
CLARA: I pick a city setting. Fraggers and Trenchers attack. We do “great” in that sim as well. Why do you override my choice?
MORAN: Because I can. No, seriously: because this one is better. I promise. We ace it. For sure.
CLARA: Look out!
MORAN: Whoa. Another earthquake! [He stands up to protect Clara from falling rocks.]
CLARA: [She stands up to push Moran away from the center, toward the wall.] Closer to the wall is safer! Come on!

[Outside the cave’s mouth are sounds of shouting, many people running, but none can be seen from where they stand.]

CLARA: The Trenchers and Fraggers can find us here and then we are trapped. I can feel some of their psi-activated scouts searching for us now. SHIELD.
MORAN: Shield up. Thanks. I am trying to timult our way out of here. Can’t feel them and timult at the same moment, yet.
CLARA: Sure. Sure. Okay. [breathing hard] Moran? Do you feel them now? About six or more, I think.
MORAN: And counting…. Yes, seven. I sense two more powerfully. Those are the ones to monitor. Setting up surveillance.
CLARA: Quakes coming again. Not as strong, but several.
MORAN: How many more?
CLARA: I think three. Maybe. I can’t tell. You?
MORAN: InKC time. [He closes his eyes.]
CLARA: Right. [She closes her eyes.]
MORAN: Two more, I think. Each weaker, but creating more damage. We do survive this, CC, although I see many larger cracks occurring and this entire part of the cave’s collapsing. We have to go deeper into it and find another way out.
CLARA: Absolutely not! I don’t see the collapse. Going deeper is going nowhere, unless you see another exit. Do you? And, where are the psi-scouts? They can capture us as we exit!
MORAN: Maybe. Not sure. Checking. [closes his eyes]
CLARA: Well, I’m not going deeper if you’re not sure and I can’t timult it myself for whatever reason. I think we can move one of those larger rocks and get out this way. Use our telekinesis.
MORAN: No. That pond could be very deep and cold. How do we get across it? How do we not get bisected by one of those… pointy things on the way?
CLARA: Stalagmites. “Stalagmites try with all their might to reach the stalactites, which hold on to the ceiling with all their might.” Can’t believe I remember that, from fourth grade.
MORAN: Plus, you can’t move squat. Your upper body strength is terrible. You know that.
CLARA: Desperate times…And, TK does not require physical strength. Let’s try.
MORAN: Worth a shot.

[Moran and Clara close their eyes, then open them and point their fingers at the largest rocks, but not the same ones.]

MORAN: Aunt Clara, not that one: this one!
CLARA: Oh. Why? This one is blocking it more.
MORAN: Well, that one is closer to the entrance, but it’s larger. If we move this one, we can squeeze by and get out. I know we can move this one.
CLARA: Do you see that or are you guessing?
MORAN: Well, estimating. Can’t timult anything about that. You try.
CLARA: Nope. No views.
MORAN: Let’s try the smaller one, then.
CLARA: Okay.

[Entire cave shudders again. More falling rocks. They cling to the wall, Moran is covering Clara’s head with one arm and his own with the other. Larger rock rolls over the entrance, almost completely blocking it. Smaller rock near it cracks and falls apart. More shouting and running from outside the cave.]

MORAN: I can’t precog the rest of this for love or money. What is my problem? Can’t feel the psi-scouts, again.
CLARA: When we use our TK for something so large, all the other Excellent Skills are temporarily blocked. That happens to me frequently in difficult assignments. [She starts coughing.] Oh, oh. Gas. Probably CO2.
MORAN: How do you know?
CLARA: No odor. The other poisonous gases in caves would stink and burn our eyes; this one doesn’t. We’re lucky it’s not ammonia, sulfur dioxide or methane.
MORAN: [coughing] Great. Clear eyes, but I can’t breathe. Less oxygen, more CO2. What now?
CLARA: This my phobia, suffocating in some way. Anything that deprives me of air freaks me out. I don’t even like to be in vehicles or buildings without air moving, probably because of my having asthma attacks when I am a lot younger, right? Almost don’t learn to snorkel or SCUBA dive because of my fears. And, my general mistrust of equipment made by humans doesn’t help, either.
MORAN: A snorkel is hardly “equipment,” Aunt Clara. Really. The only failure with snorkels occurs by the user’s incompetence. [laughs]
CLARA: So? I admit to being so scared I choke. I breathe at the wrong time, I sputter, I forget the correct procedures, all due to fear. I know it’s my fault. That’s the mechanism of phobias: we make our own misery. What about you?
MORAN: Okay. Claustrophobia. Don’t put me in a tight space where I can’t move, can’t see, can’t get enough space to think. I freak. Probably due to my two older brothers’ “sandwiching” me in all kinds of places when they’re bigger and stronger. They think it’s funny. Kuni lemls [goofs, idiots; Yiddish].
CLARA: Like a cave whose entrance is getting more blocked with each quake? Like this?
MORAN: Don’t rub it in.
CLARA: We expect The Band to force us to face our fears, so here we are.
MORAN: We are going to succeed in this. I know we can.
CLARA: My latest method for overcoming my fear of not breathing is to practice dying. You know, when we leave our bodies, when we die, our last breath is an out-breath. We exhale and never inhale again in that form. But, our brains are not dead, not inactive at all. I have this extreme fear that, at my death, when I exhale that final breath, I have a total internal freak-out because my brain knows it wants air and can’t get it any longer. I know I am ridiculous, but at the same time, that must be what happens, if we’re awake and know what’s going on, right? So, I practice. I am making progress.
MORAN: How do you practice dying?
CLARA: Like this. Tune in. [She demonstrates three long, slow breaths, inhaling, exhaling, then not inhaling after the third exhalation. Moran watches intently. When she gasps loudly, he startles.]
MORAN: Wow! You are truly panicking in there, CC. Is that “progress”?
CLARA: Yes, Moran. It is. I can go longer and longer without breathing again. When I do take a new breath, it’s not from fear; it’s a choice, now. Can’t help how I feel, but I can be better at controlling what I do and my motivation for doing it. Those are my signs of “progress,” with everything.
MORAN: Another quake is coming. Feel that?
MORAN: Bracing. [He looks around, his eyes wide open. Stands up, move around. Pushes against the walls, which are stable. Checks for movement. He returns to their wall positions.]
CLARA: Breathing. [Taking long, slow breaths again. Coughs at the end of them.]

[Cave shudders again. More falling rocks. Clara uses TK to keep them from hitting her or Moran. Moran senses that and joins her efforts. They create a telekinetic shield above and around them.]

CLARA: Perfect. Should be doing that all along. We raise our psi shields against the scouts and forget to protect ourselves from rocks right here. We’re dopes. [coughing]
MORAN: Assuredly. Less dopey, now. Good shield, CC.
CLARA: Not bad, Chief!
MORAN: Ready to try that entrance, again?
CLARA: Giving up on going deeper?
MORAN: I can’t tell if that’s best. [coughing] We’re running out of air, here. How could it be better further in? I might be wrong…
CLARA: [coughing] Try to timult again. Timelines are shifting quickly. [coughing] I can feel them but can’t get details.
MORAN: Well, if you can feel them, why can’t you timult for both of us? [coughing]
CLARA: Don’t know. [coughing] You try.
MORAN: Okay. [closes his eyes. Opens them immediately.] YES! There is another way out, or in. Many, actually. I see them, now. [coughing] We can go deeper and get out. C’mon. [He pushes her away from the wall.]
CLARA: Hold on. Are you sure? [coughing] We could try to TK that rock, again. As long as we’re here…
MORAN: [coughing] We can’t stay here. Good air is running out too quickly.

[Hands appear in the space above the rock blocking the cave’s entrance. Shouting from outside the cave. “They’re in here!”]

CLARA: We have to get out of here. NOW. [coughing] Can you teleport the rocks?
MORAN: No. [coughing] Feeling too weak. I can move US, by walking. Let’s go!
CLARA: What if you’re wrong? [coughing] What if you merely see what you want to see? That happens a lot, you know. [coughing] Happens to me all the time. How can you tell? Let’s try to move that rock, first. [coughing]
MORAN: No. I’m right. [coughing] We’re moving. That’s it. [coughing] Now. Another quake any minute; we lose what air is left. [coughing] MOVE!
CLARA: Let me try….[coughing] Oy. I have thirty years on you and mild COPD. I can hardly breathe, now. [coughing a lot longer, panting]
MORAN: Aunt Clara: You have to trust me. [coughing] Go! [coughing]
CLARA: [coughing] All right. I’m going. [coughing, panting]

[Moran takes her hand and leads them toward the darker part of the cave. Both are coughing almost continually, not talking much. Cave shudders again. Falling rocks around them; their TK shield protects them as they move. Clara looks back to see another rock falling, completely blocking the entrance. She moves faster behind Moran, who is almost running, pulling her along. They move quickly, then Moran stops.]

MORAN: Wait. Wait here. [coughing] I have to…. [He closes his eyes, then a ball of light appears in front of him.] There. Okay. Now we can go. [coughing]
CLARA: When do you learn to do that? I don’t remember that class. [coughing, panting]
MORAN: Mick. [coughing] Special lessons. OSOps. Comes in handy.
CLARA: How much further? [coughing]
MORAN: Not much.
CLARA: I’m getting tired. [coughing]
MORAN: Energize, then.
CLARA: What?
MORAN: Energize. Like this: [Moran blows two quick breaths out, then three quick in. Repeats.]
CLARA: [imitates Moran] More from Mick?
MORAN: I guess. I don’t know what you aren’t getting. Sure.
CLARA: That works! Thanks! Less coughing, too.
MORAN: Not much further. There! [Moran points to a ray of light to their left.] That one!
CLARA: The air is better, now. You save us, Moran.
MORAN: Perfect. It’s large enough that we can walk right out!
CLARA: Wait. Checking for scouts.
MORAN: Right.
CLARA: Clear?
MORAN: Clear!
CLARA: I’m sorry for not trusting you. You are good at this, Moran!
MORAN: Getting better, for sure. Thanks. Ready to ‘port back?
CLARA: Teleport us in your best style, please, Chief!

[They exit the cave, then emanate at The Campus. Simulation ends.]

Evaluation Summary
Clara and Moran engage in day-long simulation as Final Exam for ESP
Pre- & Postcognition, Level 11-A, January 14, 2015, Earth Calendar

—Moran disputes Clara’s assessments in several sections. Arguments ensue.

—Without Clara’s concessions to Moran and Moran’s successful assertions of his correctness, they both must re-take the exam.

—Certainty in discernment of others’ accuracy.
—Elimination of attachment to one’s own rightness.
—Appropriate confidence vs. inappropriate/misplaced pride.
—Trust in the other’s abilities.
—Managing phobias to think clearly.


—They utilize their strengthening capabilities to trust one another to argue, concede, decide, move on, in many situations, e.g., when capturing Eli Kriegsman and when Liora Ackerman is kidnapped, alternating who concedes, who assesses accurately, with greater ease.

—Clara to practice relinquishing control and attachment to being “right.”
—Moran to assert his assessments with more confidence, particularly with senior OSOps.
—Clara to build on this to trust Moran more.
—Both to continue to manage phobias.
—Both to continue to check and double-check the other’s assessments often.

Spanners - volume 3 cover final

Clara, Moran, Espe, Epifanio and the alien Band of holos are back in Volume III, This Is/Is Not the Way I Want Things to Change, of The Spanners Series. Psi-Defiers launch increasingly violent protests during this five-year Transition, attempting to block Earth’s membership into the Many Worlds Collective. Earth’s nations and borders must dissolve and Psi-Warriors must strengthen in their battle against the rebels.

Clara, as Earth’s first Chief Communicator, also juggles family conflicts and danger while creating psi skills training Campuses to help Earth through the Psi Wars. Clara timults alternate versions of their futures as the leaders’ duties and consciences force them to make difficult choices across multiple timelines, continuing to train and fight.

Will the Psi-Warriors’ and other leaders’ increasing psi skills, interspecies collaborations and budding alien alliances be enough for Earth to make it through The Transition intact?

If there is no clear path for Clara’s and Epifanio’s love, does she partner with Steve or go it alone?

What do YOU do with wanted/unwanted changes?

Sci-fi/romance/utopian/multiverse/psi/paranormal for adults, new adults, young adults, now in ebooks and paperbacks, Volumes I, II, III:

PAPERBACK on CreateSpace: Volume III, $19.99 https://www.createspace.com/5844474

PAPERBACK on CreateSpace: Volume II, $19.99 https://www.createspace.com/5844431 

PAPERBACK on CreateSpace: Volume I, $17.99 https://www.createspace.com/5837347 

Ebook of Volume III is $1.99 for a few more days (during pre-orders, through 12/7/15) then $3.99:
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/588331
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0177Z1KRM

final cover print

Ebook of Volume II is $3.99:
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424969  
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KU5Q7KC


Ebook of Volume I is PERMAFREE:
AMAZON: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HFELTG8   
SMASHWORDS: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/376197

And on ibooks, Kobo, nook: look right, scroll down for all links for Volumes I, II, III, interviews, book trailers, reviews, more:


All art for The Spanners Series by WillowRaven