After spending a few hours with Frédéric Paul, I’ve chosen (at least) the neighborhood where the main character from Disobedience lived for several years. Since the character does not age, he will need to move now and then. I’ve also decided on a few of the places where he will have worked during that period.
I think I can describe the city now, how it started and evolved, especially from 1920 to 1939, and what life probably was like. I think, because of the character’s inability to age naturally, he will spend some years in Avignon, too and then—perhaps—return to Aix.
In 1934 and afterward, the political environment here changed, as it did in much of Europe. By 1939, I think many people expected another war, and that would have been the signal fro the main character to leave for the US—a place he had never been. I call him John in the prequel short, but he had many names.
This is my last weekend here in Aix before I leave for Avignon. I’ll be there for about 11 days and then in Nie for a few days before going to Italy. Then I’ll spend the holidays, until January 9th, visiting friends in different parts of Italy, mostly Matera, Rome, and Camerino.
Après avoir passé quelques heures avec Frédéric Paul, j’ai choisi (au moins) le quartier où le personnage principal de Disobedience a vécu plusieurs années. Puisque le personnage ne vieillit pas, il devra bouger de temps en temps. J’ai également choisi quelques endroits où il aura travaillé pendant cette période.
Je pense que je peux maintenant décrire la ville, comment elle a commencé et évolué, en particulier de 1920 à 1939, et à quoi ressemblait probablement la vie. Je pense que, du fait de l’incapacité du personnage à vieillir naturellement, il passera également quelques années à Avignon puis, peut-être, à Aix.
En 1934 et après, l’environnement politique a changé ici, comme dans beaucoup de pays européens. En 1939, beaucoup de gens s’attendaient à une autre guerre, ce qui aurait incité le personnage principal à partir pour les États-Unis, un endroit où il ne s’était jamais rendu. Je l’appelle John dans le préquelet, mais il avait beaucoup de noms.
C’est mon dernier week-end ici à Aix avant de partir pour Avignon. Je serai là pendant environ 11 jours, puis quelques jours à Nie avant de me rendre en Italie. Ensuite, je passerai les vacances, jusqu’au 9 janvier, à rendre visite à des amis dans différentes régions d’Italie, p
Always something interesting here in southern France (I’ve been in the town of Aix for over 3 weeks and have another five days to go before I move to he town of Avignon)—always something new to learn.
I’ve been researching the town for the book, Disobedience.
In the meantime, I’ve put together the final touches on the draft version (still a bit rough) of a chapter for “The Wastelands and the Wilderness” (Which is Part 2 of The Balance).
This is a character introduction for a young woman named “Morwen”. She is related to a character in The Balance (Part 1), named Matthew, and has been told that she is his niece, although in fact she is his biological daughter.
People who were a part of the Genetics Programs didn’t always know who their biological parents were, although sometimes they did, as it was for Phoebe in part 1.
This is the second new character intro I’ve done for “Wastelands . . .”. The other was for a character named Danielle.
“Wastelands . .” is being written for a New Adult and Older audience. There are some themes that would not be suitable for children or YA. The book will have five or six different threads (stories being followed in parallel). Of course they are all related in some way, although the relationship between them may not be obvious.
The story picks up several years after the end of The Balance (book 1). The Council has been aggressively seeking Order members in hiding, and especially their underground base, called Corbin.
The Council’s Inner Circle (8 members)—Council is short for The Council of God—is made up by a Supreme Elder, Three Bishops, each of whom leads the spiritual aspects of the three founding faiths (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity) and the leaders of the four Curia: Truth, Justice, Law, and Economics.
For example, the Curia of Truth is responsible for the educational system, the libraries, and the reconstituted Inquisition, as well as the elements of the Council that make up the intelligence mechanism. Law runs the courts, Justice is responsible for physical security and imposing the edicts of the Council, and Economics oversees those aspects of society that create wealth.
Part one of the book introduced these things, as well as the makeup of the Order—a separate organization that was driven from power and whose members live in exile. (and hiding). The Order was a technological / science organization, and the Council forbade the use of most technology after driving the Order out.
Neither side was free of blame.
I keep three chapters from The Balance posted on my web site: michaelselden.com
I expect that part 2 of the story (planned as a trilogy) will be released in mid to late 2019.
The period of history I am looking at in Aix is from 1920 to 1939. The character, John, moved to Aix from Italy in 1920 and left Europe as WW-2 was starting in 1939.
My research is being conducted in layers. First I identify interesting years from events that happened and then I drill down into what was happening during the month or months while these events happen. I will include some of this in the novel as John goes about his life in Aix.
Some Interesting photos from then and now:
This is going to be a bit of a stream of consciousness log
Ive been in Aix now for about a week (out of 6 weeks planned). When I was getting on the train from Paris to Aix, something popped in my knee. Upon reaching Aix, I went to pharmacy and got a pair of crutches—people were very helpful—and my knee is doing a little bit better each day, although for safety I still take use crutch when walking.
I’m renting an apartment through AirBNB. The apartment is ideally located and quite functional, with a small kitchen area, including a washing machine. I rented the place for a month, and will travel to Avignon next, where I also rented an apartment.
I did buy a one-month membership at a gym here in Aix. It cost me 99 Euros, although I could have paid 15 Euros per visit instead. Lifting weights is a part of my overall health regime, although I don’t exercise as often as I should. I am using the “Loft” gym. The owner is clearly a bodybuilder.
People are friendly, but fewer people than expected speak English (some do, but it’s a hit or miss thing). My landlady is very friendly and it was her and her daughter that helped me get a medical appointment for my knee. The doctor was efficient and immediately wrote a prescription for an MRI. He understands that I want to know if and / or how much damage there is for my 3-month stay in Europe.
At the hospital, the people scheduling were helpful and curious. I understand that one or two were flirting with me, in a friendly and non-serious way, although I didn’t understand them at the time. One nurse spoke good English and she told me that.
My French is spotty and slow. If I had an eternity to think I could speak better, but the conversations keep moving and my brain quickly falls behind. I tried Italian, which I speak better than French, but no one (or very few people) seems to speak it here. I’m hoping my French is improved while here.
I did manage to do some more research, at the library this time. With help, I found a book that summarizes some of the happenings, about 100 years of history—events—in Aix and from that I can request journals (newspapers), one month at a time from their archives to learn more about what happened.
I’m using Google Translate to helpme read. I just take a photo of the page (or several paragraphs) and the image finds the text and then translates it for me—much better than me trying to work through every sentence, although sometimes I do.
I’ve noticed how much faster the battery of my phone drains here in either Aix and in Paris. I attribute it to a couple of things: 1) I use location services more and it uses power, too; 2) the phone struggles to find and keep connections more, either because the cell towers are farther apart or because the stone buildings block the signal more——or both.
At home, I can go 2 days before the phone’s battery level even get’s close to 60%. Here, I need to plug the phone in to keep the charge above 55 or 60% after just a half day.
It’s easy to switch your phone to local number, just find a service provider and buy a prepaid SIM card with the data and minutes you’ll need. I bought what was considered a 2-week card (although he card is good for 6 months) with 1000 minutes of talk time and 10GB of data for about 44 Euros from Orange (one of the largest providers in France). If I run out of data (I never use many minutes) then I can recharge it.
Getting a local SIM is much more efficient than using your US number. I will probably get a new card when I go to Italy (as usually do).You just pop the card in your phone out and insert the new one and Tah-dah you’re in business.
I use Watts Up and I also have an app that makes my phone an extension of my Vonage VOIP phone in the US, so calls (minutes) are free, but I need the data for when I am not near a free WIFI signal. I also use an encrypted VPN when using WIFI to keep my traffic secure.
To navigate the streets, I use Mapme (or is it mapsme). You download maps in advance so the system does not depend on having a signal while you’re walking, and it’s pretty good.
Oh well, another day gone.
An update on the whole Orange Tourist phone thing (Nov 1, 2018):
I was very careful to only sparingly use data (I used 1GB in 2 weeks and zero minutes taking), but the service expired in 2 weeks nonetheless. I Tried to recharge the phone at an Orange office in Aix, but the man there said he could not help me “Pas ici”—this despite the Orange web site (topup.orange.com) saying that’s where I should go. I did manage to recharge it for 2 weeks 5GB and 500 minutes for 21+ Euros (with tax).
It was a frustrating morning, and I did use as much French at the Orange office as I could, even arguing (slightly) with the man in French, but my sense is that he simply did not want to help. I suggest not counting on the Orange office in Aix.
I am traveling in Aix-en-Provence, doing research for the book, “Disobedience”. I had a small accident while taking the train from Paris and am using crutches to get around. I hope the injury isn’t too bad.
Aix is a town formed under the Romans and has been an important part of the region for a long time. Specifically, I am reseraching the period between 1920 and 1939—after the fascists took root in Italy but before World War 2 started.The character John (or Jaques) fled Italy to escape the Fascists and then anticipated the war. In 1939 he escaped to America, Boston.
I will be in Aix for about a month and then in Avignon for another couple of weeks beforewrapping up the research.
I used Google’s Translate for the following, although I am trying to learn French, too.
Je me rends à Aix-en-Provence pour effectuer des recherches sur le livre “Disobedience”. J’ai eu un petit accident alors que je prenais le train depuis Paris et que j’utilise des béquilles pour me déplacer. J’espère que la blessure n’est pas trop grave.
Aix est une ville formée sous les Romains et constitue depuis longtemps une partie importante de la région. Plus précisément, je réserve la période comprise entre 1920 et 1939, après l’enracinement des fascistes en Italie, mais avant le début de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Le personnage John (ou Jaques) a fui l’Italie pour fuir les fascistes, puis a anticipé la guerre. En 1939, il s’échappe en Amérique, à Boston.
Je serai à Aix pendant environ un mois, puis à Avignon pendant deux semaines pour conclure les recherches.
Earlier this year—in fact around June, or so, I made a couple of changes to The Balance.
— The first was to simplify the cover art, removing the twin faces—Phoebe and Rebecca, as well as the symbol on the back cover.
— The second was to remove the Introduction (entitled “What Came Before”) from the book. My sense was that people seeing an introduction might well be turned off from reading. I still think the intro has value—it tells what happened 200 years before to change the world, and what happened about 17 and a half years before to trigger the story. While most of what was revealed in the intro is also available in the book, it’s scattered and IMO summarized knowledge of history helps to bring the reader into the story faster. None the less, I asked a few readers who thought that it might be an obstacle for some, so it has been removed. However, I will post a link to the original intro here in this post, so readers CAN access it, if desired.
Introduction—What Came Before (This is a link to a pdf document page)
I used to think of the characters Ayn Rand created in her books as exaggerated caricatures of real people, and the way they behaved, not examples of literal behavior and thinking. But over time I’ve come to understand that she was simply making a documentary-like statement about the kinds of behaviors and thinking she’d witnessed as a young person, growing up as the hard left took over her country, killing and justifying taking people’s lives and things in the name of the people.
“We must not think. We must believe. Believe, Katie, even if your mind objects. Don’t think. Believe. Trust your heart, not your brain. Don’t think. Feel. Believe.”
——Ellsworth Toohey quote, The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand.
I could go on, but tend to stay away from the kinds of posts that become overtly political. Needless to say, the activities and over-the-top demonization we see today are noting new——Neither are the PR tactics. We saw them from V.I. Lenin, and from Joseph Goebbels, and from his more recent disciple, Saul Alinsky et al.
I just posted Trampling on the Blood of my Enemy, a short story, on my web site. This is a prequel story to a novel I plan to publish in 2020, entitled DISOBEDIENCE.
Disobedience is set mostly in Baltimore, although the prequel takes place in Boston. The main character, John, is an immortal—cursed to live forever. He does his best to keep a low profile, although that isn’t always possible. The story begins after a supernatural entity—one of his enemies—discovers the city where he’s hiding, although because of his curse the enemy is unable to find him directly.
The short story, entitled “Trampling on the Blood of my Enemies” can be read HERE
There is a link for a PDF file, or it can be read in a scrolling reading pane.