Real Reality

I’ve been reading a book about cyber technology running amok, or perhaps people running amok using advanced cyber technology (so advanced, it hasn’t yet been created, though obviously it has been postulated by someone, even if only the author). To be honest, I’m not really sure what the story is about because unlike most books that I read at a single sitting or two or three (at most), the pages on this book aren’t advancing at all. I tend to think my slow progress has to do with my falling asleep while reading. (Well, no. I don’t “tend to think” that napping is the reason for the slow progress — I know it is.)

It’s no wonder the story isn’t keeping my interest. It’s hard for me to care about people —real or otherwise — who wrap themselves in the latest technology. I understand some body/computer interfaces could have (or for all I know, all ready do have) lifesaving capabilities, but I’ve passed my time of keeping up with current cyberlife. I use only a fraction of my computer’s potential, sticking with such basics as blogging, researching, shopping a bit, playing a game (though my interest in the hidden object game I was once fascinated with has been steadily waning). I certainly have no interest in the internet of things, a potential combined internet of things and persons, the metaverse, or virtual reality of any kind. I prefer to stick with real reality (or rather what passes for real reality since there is no real consensus on what reality is).

It is ironic, though, that despite my decreased use of social networking sites (I write my blog and spend about two minutes on Facebook going through the whole rigamarole FB has forced me into to post my blog on the site, but that’s it) I don’t feel as if I’m alone, though I actually do spend most of my time alone. It made more sense to feel as if I were with people back in the days where I was in fairly consistent contact with people, especially on the now-defunct writing site that was the best social networking site for authors, but now it’s more of a sense of being in contact rather than actually being in contact.

And then, of course, there are all those characters in the books I read that people my life.

I keep saying that one of these days I’ll start writing again, and I tend to think that day is coming soon. I was showing friends my zinnias yesterday, and it suddenly struck me that Zinnia would be a great name for a character. Later in the conversation, as we talked about lilies, it seemed that Lily and Billy would be great names for twins. Once an author has names, can a story be far behind?

I’m still “researching” the story. (By research, I mean I’m just living, but if I call my everyday life “research” then I can pretend I’m actually working as a writer.) Unfortunately, I still have no idea what story I want to write. It would be fun to write another “Pat” story, sort of a sequel to Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare. One visitor told me I have a ghost, so I’m considering a ghost story. One friend has told me a few of her experiences that makes me wonder if I want to write some sort of alternate reality tale. For example, a wildfire burned all around her house, and the people who used to own the place (who were still emotionally invested in the house) watched four tanker trucks circling her property, spraying the house and trees to keep the fire away. The firefighters working that day said they only had one tanker truck, and they needed it to keep them safe from the fast-moving fire. Even worse, they saw embers landing on her roof, and later told her they felt bad they couldn’t save her house. They were astounded when she told them the house hadn’t been touched.

It’s certainly interesting to speculate which reality was real — the former owner’s, the firefighters, or my friend’s. They couldn’t all be real, could they?

Someday, I am sure, a story — either this one or another — will gather enough strength that will compel me to write, and when that time comes, I sure hope the book won’t put people to sleep.


Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.


I’m still finding “volunteer” plants in my yard, plants that show up without an invitation. If the plants are nice, I don’t mind them being there. Too many of the things I planted never sprouted, and if they did sprout, they didn’t grow. (For example, the bulbs I planted last fall. Everyone I talked to and every article I read told me I didn’t have to water them, so I didn’t. I found out recently I should have been watering them every two weeks or so all winter long unless there was substantial snow or other moisture, which there wasn’t.) So it’s nice seeing some flowers in the yard, even if they are considered noxious weeds, such as this Flower of an Hour (aka Venice Mallow and Hibiscus trionum.)

I was delighted to actually find out the name of that weed because too many plants elude me and my identity searches. Still, the idea that I might be harboring noxious weeds doesn’t thrill me, but often the reason they are considered noxious is that they are poisonous to livestock rather than people.

I don’t know anything about this green flowered weed except that it looks like a lilac seedling until it grows up and creates light yellowish green flowers:

Some things I know, such as alfalfa. Apparently, alfalfa doesn’t like acidic soil, so it should feel right at home in my yard. In fact, I’m thinking of planting a small area of alfalfa because . . . well, just because.

I do know what this little dime-size flower is, thanks to a gardener who reads my blog. Just seeing the photo, which disguises the size of the bloom, it’s easy to see it’s a zinnia, though where it came from, I don’t know. It did make me think that maybe next year I should plant a patch of zinnias since they seem to like it here.

Once we’ve put gravel around the house and planted sidewalks and trails, it will be much easier to control what grows. For now, I have mostly dead yard that seems to attract volunteers.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator