Staying Sane!

I was enjoying a margarita at my favorite watering hole, sitting on my favorite green padded stool, when in walked three identical looking chaps. They sat on the three stools next to me.

Now, they weren’t truly identical, one had brown hair, one had blond hair, and one had red hair. But, they all had an identical confused look on their face!

“Hello fellas, how are you this fine day?” I said, trying to be friendly.

The one next to me smiled and said: “I’m Sane, and next to me are Eccentric and Mad.”

“Those are your names?”

They all nodded.

I gulped down my margarita and ordered another.

“I’m trying to help my two friends here back to sanity,” said the one called Sane.

“Do you often talk to strangers about your mental states?”

They all nodded.

“One of the great joys of life is talking to strangers and getting involved in “real” conversations with them,” said Eccentric.

“I try to take a bath everyday,” said Mad.

“Good for you, Mad,” I said, smiling. He didn’t smile back!

“I tell my two friends here to take at least 15 minutes a day and do nothing, it helps to slow things down in this frenzied world,” said Sane.

“Are you frustrated? Are you depressed? Or, are you mad?” I said, taking a sip of my third margarita.

“You hit the nail on the head,” said all three in unison.

“That’s good, because these could be your motivators towards change.”

“How can we relax and retain our sanity or get it back?” They all asked, even Sane.

“Sit very still and listen for a few minutes. What do you hear?”

“I hear my breathing,” said Sane.

“I hear my heart beating,” said Eccentric.

“I hear someone laughing,” said Mad.

“Now, do you all feel relaxed and sane?”

“Yes, we do,” they all said together.

“Well, you feel relaxed and calm because you are experiencing being in the present, which we seldom experience now days.”

We all started laughing. It was a wonderful moment.

“If we couldn’t laugh, we would go looney,” I said wisely.

“Well, we have to leave now, nice meeting you,” said Sane, and they all walked out into the sunshine.

I thought… I think I will go home and have a bath!

The Mantra

“Dave, help me, I’m completely confused!” cried my friend’s son at my front door. I was like an uncle to him.

“Come in Tom, and take a load off.”

I ushered him into my lounge and sat him down on the sofa. I sat opposite in an easy chair. He was disheveled, completely untidy and disordered. He was only thirty years old but he looked much older!

“Now Tom, what’s the problem?”

“Well, I signed up to a meditation class to try to figure my life out and they keep talking about life mantras. I am totally confused,” he said, wringing his hands.

“What are the mantras?”

“They keep repeating them over and over: Individualism is good, Pursue your passion, March to your own drummer, Find yourself, and on and on.”

“Well Tom, these mantras all preach the SELF as the center of life. Lets take them one at a time…”

“Someone told me individualism is bad yet the mantra says it’s good! I’m going crazy,” said Tom, interrupting.

“Okay, take it easy, you’ll give yourself hypertension!”

Tom took a deep breath and waited for my remarks.

“These are people who have doubts about individualism-with its attendant selfishness and divisiveness.”

“But I want to know if individualism is good,” Tom shouted, “I feel naked before the assaults of life.”

“Hey Tom, I like that line. You are naked, there is only you, only yourself against the world.”

Well Dave, do I strive for individualism or not?”

“Yes, I think striving for individualism is a good thing. It has fuelled invention, two revolutions, agricultural and industrial and all the enterprise that has brought the better things in life to us. None of this would have been possible had not people been encouraged to be themselves and create.”

“What about the contention that individualism is selfish?”

“It’s not selfish at all. We develop ourselves to be useful to ourselves and others. Much of what people do benefits others and humanity as a whole.”

“So Dave, we should reflect on what we can do individually to realize our potential and make the world a better place.”

“You’ve got it, Tom.”

“Now, what about this “pursue your passion” mantra?”

“First, you must discover your passion. Mine is creative writing. Following your passion will help you tap into your talents. Your passion will push you to become better in areas that you are strong and then it can be shared with the world.”

“Sounds good,” said Tom, smiling.

“Lastly, they keep banging on about “finding yourself”. Why is this so important?”

“Well, it’s all wound up in the things we’ve been talking about: Individualism, Chart your own course, Pursue your passion. You will be content in your own skin when you know who you are. But it will take some introspection into how you think as opposed to what others think.”

“Well Dave, I feel better now, after our little talk. When I sit down and ask myself questions that only I can answer, I will come to the realization that “I am nobody but MYSELF.”

“I think you’ve got the gist of those mantras now.”

“What should be my mantra now?” said Tom, waiting for a great revelation from me!



“The Becoming” by David Wise

My new book, “The Becoming” is due out early in 2015.

A story of a man creating himself through a lifetime of confronting his demons

and frightening situations.

Sometimes what you become, at different stages of your life, isn’t what you


Think about your OWN “becoming” experience.

It might NOT have always been a happy one.

How did you evolve through the years?

How To Better Our World

Create a New World Order, of worldwide leadership, to initiate big changes, by uniting the leaders of the world to make unified decisions to eliminate conflict. It might be uncomfortable at first, but if we don’t do something different it could bring on terrible consequences and much more difficult problems for the people of the future.

The Idea:

Unite three areas of society:

Political and Economic leaders in one group.

Spiritual and Religious leaders in another group.

Scientists and Environmentalists in a third group.

These three sections of leadership MUST AGREE upon all decisions made for the planet unanimously.


But, what can we do on an INDIVIDUAL basis?

Well, I’m a writer, a creative person, and I want to make ART!

We were all put here to do something we’re passionate about. So, when I put my writing out into the world, I hope it promotes more understanding of the Human Condition.

I want to provide my readers with an experience, to increase their understanding of themselves and the world we live in. I want to inspire my readers to “THINK” productively. Because if we get our thinking right, we will solve problems more easily.

We rely on creativity. Progress is due to creativity, to look at things in a different way, to do things in a different way and to put things together to deliver new values. Creativity supplies us with new ideas and new possibilities.

So, hopefully, my writing will inspire my readers to become better people who eventually will make a better world, through better understanding.

I’ve had people tell me they have learned a new way of looking at things after reading some of my stories and articles, and that inspires me! I have stories to tell and I know there are people out there who could benefit from reading them!

Through a story, you can show a person that they can get rid of their demons and become better members of society.

Reliable News???

It was a beautiful late summer day, so I took a walk in the park. The birds were singing, the sky was blue, everything seemed right with the world. Then I sat down on a park bench next to a chap reading a newspaper. He looked irritated.

“I don’t believe half of what I read in this newspaper, and everything is so negative,” he blurted out, throwing the newspaper in the bin next to the bench.

“I’ve lost trust in the media,” he continued, looking at me for a response.

I smiled: “It’s such a beautiful day, we don’t need any negativity today, do we?”

“That’s just the point, all there is in the papers is bad news!”

I wondered, should I get up and walk away or should I stay and say my piece. I decided to stay, since this was a topic I felt strongly about.

“Well, my friend, a great many people don’t trust the press. But, I don’t think the media cares or ever expected to be trusted.”

My bench mate pondered that statement for a minute. Then he spoke up: “In my opinion, the only thing that matters to the media is to get a “good” story, even if it is only partially true. The trouble is that people are more interested in bad news and negativity than in good news and positivity.”

“That belief might be somewhat wrong, in my opinion. If the world is to be a better place, we need more positive stuff reported. Then the public would be encouraged to have more positive attitudes and constructive thinking,” I said, taking a big breath of fresh air.

My bench mate squirmed on the hard seat. I smiled to myself, maybe the spin in the news had that affect on him.

“I realize the press has a duty to explore corruption and bad behavior, but they overdo it. Why not report more positive stories?”

“I’ll tell you why, my friend, because it is harder to write a positive piece than a negative one. More talent is required and many editors and news people seem sadly to lack such talent.”

My friend on the bench gazed at the sky and said: “Everyone yells about the news, it’s biased, it’s inaccurate, it’s manipulated, it’s full of political correctness. What we want is the “TRUTH!”

“We all want the truth, but it’s hard to get, when you don’t know what the truth is!”

“Many people respond to news stories in a dogmatic way, with a fixed viewpoint, unwilling to accept other views. And I have to admit I am guilty of this,” said my mate, reluctantly.

“I will also, make an admission. I respond to the news with a kind of “intellectual despair.”

“What’s that?”

“Well, I suspend my judgment on a article based on the idea that there is little truth out there OR that we can’t know the truth anyway, because we are told conflicting ideas and scenarios.”

My bench mate blurted out: “Sometimes I learn more about the article by reading the comments, than the article itself!”

“That’s because you are reading a cross section of views.”

“Lets get to the nitty gritty, who’s telling the truth?”

“Probably, hardly anybody, because 90% of the mass media is controlled by big corporations, who have their own self-interests and agendas.”

“So true,” my mate sighed and continued, “What about political correctness in the news?”

“Now, you’ve hit on a sore point with me…”

“Lets hear it, give it to me with both barrels,” my mate interrupted.

“Well, PC is the attitude of being very careful NOT to offend of upset any group who are believed to be at a disadvantage.”

“Give me an example,” said my mate.

“Lets say, you feel that unfettered immigration is a bad thing, the next thing you know, you are branded a “Racist.”

“Yes, you’re right, I’ve been called that before.”

“So, the news sources occupy the center ground, because it’s the safest place to be, then it is difficult to see where anyone stands.”

“Boy! All kinds of things block us from the TRUTH.”

“That’s right, PC is designed to subvert free speech, debate and reliable news coverage.”

“Well, how can we get reliable news with the TRUTH?”

“I think we have to figure out the news ourselves by practicing “critical thinking.”

“What’s that, exactly?”

“It’s analyzing the news to interpret it with caution and judgment. Don’t depend on one single source for news. As far as critical thinking goes, that is really objective analysis and evaluation of an issue.”

“Hey! I thought it was very hard or impossible to be objective, everything seems to be subjective because even the journalists look at things through their own eyes, as we all do!”

“Yes, but I’m talking about an OBJECTIVE APPROACH to interpreting what is printed or reported.”

“How do you do that?”

“First you have to gather all the evidence, then you have to know all the different views on the issue, and finally, you have to know all the facts.”

“So, to get at the “TRUTH”, you have to do an analysis of the issue.”

“Yes, if you want “TRUTH”, there is some study involved.”

‘Well, I have to go home now and watch the six o’clock news and get a headache.”

I laughed and said: “The TV people should put an aspirin commercial on right after the news!”

With that, we went our separate ways.

The Lady in the Mirror

I was out for a walk one sunny afternoon. I turned down a street I had never been on before. I was in unfamiliar territory, or was I? There was a pub at the end of the road called “The Meeting Place”. I was intrigued, so I went in. Inside, it was so dimly lit that I had to wait a minute for my eyes to adjust. Eventually, I saw a long bar with green padded stools, and a few tables and chairs. In the corner was an old jukebox, playing “What’s It All About, Alfie?”, sung by Cilla Black. There were a few people talking in whispers at the tables. But there was only one lady sitting at the bar. She was staring at herself in the huge mirror behind the bar. Her dark eyes focused on me, it was as if she was drawing me over to her.


I sat next to her and ordered a glass of red wine, which was what she was drinking. The bartender served me and eyed me up and down. I took a sip of my wine and stared at the lady in the mirror. She was an attractive, mature woman dressed entirely in black, with dark brown eyes, high cheekbones and red lips. Her long grey hair framed her face. Her low cut dress revealed a gold chain with a pagan cross dangling down her cleavage. She had a profound expression on her face, like she had seen and experienced many things. Maybe she could help me, I hoped.


“Hello, my name is Dave. Do you come here often?”

“No, this is my first time. I got lost and ended up on this street, so I wandered in here for a drink.” Her voice was sultry and mysterious. We both looked into each other’s eyes in the mirror.

“What do you do when you’re not getting lost?” I smiled.

“I’m into meditation,” said the lady, still looking into the foggy mirror.

“That’s interesting, when I turned down this street, my mind was drifting. I felt like I was in a meditational state, halfway between being awake and sleeping. It seemed as if I had been down this street before but I couldn’t remember when.”

The lady in the mirror smiled at me. It was weird, we were conversing while looking at each other’s reflection.

“Have any strange things happened to you?” I said, mesmerized by this beautiful lady.

“Oh yes, one time, at midnight, I got a phone call from someone asking me out on a date. I asked him what a young man like him, was doing asking me out. He then asked me how I knew he was young. So I described his looks on the phone. He hung up and never called again!”

“That’s scary! Maybe the young man thought you were some kind of witch.”

The lady in the mirror laughed. “No, I’m not a witch. I’m just able to see things. Do you understand?”

Someone played “What’s It All About?” again on the jukebox.

“What do you think it’s all about? What’s your purpose?” I said, wanting to hear something extraordinary.

“Well Dave, for me personally, it is to live consciously and courageously, to be compassionate to others and to awaken the spirits within others.”

“That’s a wonderful purpose. I find you very interesting. You could probably help with some of my problems. By the way, what is your name?”

“You may call me Lorelei, but I have gone by many names. I believe I could help you. We all experience what we believe.”


She smiled and touched my knee. We both emptied our wine glasses. I ordered two more. When the bartender served us our wine, Lorelei put her hand on mine. It was an electric moment. Her eyes were smoldering in the mirror.

“So, you’re into meditation,” I said, taking a sip of wine.

“Yes, meditation for the body, mind and soul. Now, what’s your problem?” she whispered, her face close to mine, her intoxicating perfume making me dizzy.

“Well, I get frustrated and anxious when I wonder what’s my purpose in life, what’s meaningful to me and what’s the point of it all.”

“What you need to do, my friend, is open up your chakras.”

“What are chakras?”

Lorelei squeezed my hand and I felt a tingling sensation in my fingers.

“Chakras are a concept featured in the traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. They are centers of energy located on the midline of your body. They govern your psychological properties, instinctual and high mental.”

I drained my glass of wine and signaled the bartender to bring us a BOTTLE of wine.

“If you open your crown chakra, you will release the wisdom to figure out your problems. But you must meditate hard and look for the answer. I promise the answer will come to you.”

“What should I do?” I said, as I refilled our glasses.

“We will hold hands and close our eyes and be still, very still. You will think about your problem while breathing deeply.”

I felt as if I was floating. It was like an out-of-body experience.

Lorelei whispered into my ear, “Be still, be still,” and then she brushed her lips on my cheek.

A few minutes of silence followed. Then she broke the silence and said: “It was not into your ear, I whispered, but into your heart. It was not my lips that kissed you, but my soul!” She kept holding my hand. I felt warm vibrations throughout my body. It was surreal!

“Did you come up with an answer to your problem?” Her eyes were burning me through the mirror.

“Yes, I think I have come up with my purpose and meaning in my life. I’m a writer, and through my writing, my readers might come to a better understanding of themselves and the world. There is truth in fiction. Through my writing, things will become clearer to me, also. But how did you bring this thought into my mind?”

She didn’t answer, she just looked at me in the mirror with her mysterious smile.

“I’m so glad I met you, I feel better in my skin now. I don’t want to lose you. I need your support. You could be my muse.”

She touched my cheek with her warm hand and said: “Close your eyes, Dave, and just think of me and I will always be walking with you through life!”

I opened my eyes and looked in the mirror and the only person I saw was myself. Lorelei was gone!

The bartender came over and said, “You owe me £20 for the wine!”


Dear John,

I think it would be best if we broke off our engagement, for now.



There were other words in the letter, but these were the ones that kept repeating in John’s head. It wasn’t bad enough that he had been away from home a long time and about to see combat action. Now this. He was feeling very depressed as he left the darkness of the pub into the afternoon sunshine.

A missile shot over John’s head of blond hair, cut short in military style. The American airman ducked and saw the missile end up in a tree, stuck between the branches.

John looked down and there stood a rather sullen looking boy, about eight years old, with black unruly hair covering his forehead and sad dark eyes.

“What’s your name, son?”

The boy looked blankly at John and whispered, “Ian.”

“Well Ian, I’m John. I’ll get your ball out of the tree.”

John climbed up the tree and retrieved the ball. Ian took the ball and started to walk away, without even looking at John. The airman stood there looking at the boy walking away. He had sadness in his blue eyes very similar to the sadness in Ian’s dark eyes.

“Hey buddy, would you like to learn some American baseball?”

Ian turned around, and showed a faint smile. The sadness left his eyes for a moment. He took a long look at the blond giant in the blue uniform. Was he worth his trust?

The smile from the boy lightened John’s heart and took his mind off the war and his depressed feelings.

Ian told John he was evacuated from London. He had seen some terrible bombings and he missed his parents. He had been from home to home as an evacuee. Apparently, he was quite a mischievous handful. The people that took him in said he was too much to control, when they gave him back to the evacuation officials. John told Ian that you shouldn’t take things that happened to you out on others.

During John’s explanation of baseball, man and boy were oblivious to their wartime situations. John told Ian about his hometown baseball team, the Chicago Cubs. The boy was spellbound.

In the weeks that followed, when John could get away from his base, he and Ian met at the field next to the pub. John would bring some baseball equipment from the base. They would pitch and bat the baseball or play catch wearing the big baseball gloves. They were becoming good buddies, as John often said.

Ian would say, “John, you’re my good mate.”

John would reply, “And you’re my good buddy.”

Ian was coming out of his shell, thanks to John. The people that he was living with said he was a changed lad, and they didn’t talk about giving him up anymore. John was seeing through Ian’s eyes that life was still worth living even in wartime.

Then one day, John was told that he was to be transferred out of the country for combat duty. Where? He wouldn’t know until the last minute, it was part of the secrecy of war. How would he tell Ian? How would Ian take the news? How would it affect their relationship?

These thoughts kept racing through John’s head as he walked to the field to meet Ian. He thought he would give him a gift to ease the shock of separation. They may never see each other again.

They played catch, both wearing baseball gloves. Ian trying to pitch fast balls to John. The day was full of happiness.

But finally, the moment came when John had to tell Ian the bad news.

“Hey buddy, come here for a minute,” said John, walking over to a park bench, “Sit with me, I’ve got something to tell you and something to give you.”

Ian looked up at John with happy eyes.

“What’s up, buddy?” said Ian, imitating John’s American way of saying things.

“Well buddy, I’m going to be leaving in a few days and this will probably be the last time we will see each other for a while.”

Ian’s expression abruptly changed and he looked almost as sad as he did the first time they met.

Suddenly, Ian jumped up and ran into the woods shouting, “You never really cared about me, we’re not buddies anymore!”

John called after Ian, but he was gone. He ran into the woods to search for him. After a few minutes, he came across and old abandoned shack. John spotted the baseball glove Ian had, it was on the ground near an old well hole.

The airman dropped to his knees at the edge of the hole.

“Hey buddy, are you down there? Are you okay?”

No response, only dark silence.

John’s thoughts raced through his mind. Ian had become a happy boy and John had lost his depression over his situation. Life seemed to have meaning again. What the two buddies had accomplished can’t be all reversed now!

Tears were running down John’s cheeks.

“Hey buddy, I’m over here.”

John turned around and there was Ian, trying to look brave.

“Why did you run away?” said John, greatly relieved.

“I’m afraid I’ll never see you again and we had so much fun,” stammered Ian.

Putting his arm around Ian’s shoulder, John said, “Look buddy, what I’ve got here.”

John pulled an old worn baseball out of his pocket. Ian’s eyes widened in amazement, as he admired the ball.

“I got it when one of the Cubs hit a home run into the stands. This ball is signed by some of the Chicago Cub players. It is my most treasured possession and I want you to keep it for me, because I will be back for it.”

“Oh, I’ll keep it safe for you, John,” said Ian, fondling the ball like it was gold.

“We will always be buddies, Ian,” said John, “And I’ll write to tell you of my experiences.”

Man and boy walked out of the woods side by side.

They were real buddies. They had a bond that couldn’t be broken by any distance between them. John had faith that the war would come to a successful end for the Allies and that there would be a brighter future for the two buddies.

The Dreaded Grammar and Punctuation!

My friend, Jonah, who just started writing short stories and going to a writers club, dropped by my house unexpected one day. He looked haggard. I showed him into the lounge and we sat down opposite each other.

“What’s the matter, Jonah? You look down in the mouth.”

“I am, I just received a critique on one of my stories, saying it’s a great story and it should appeal to readers BUT it is ruined by grammatical and punctuation mistakes, and that nullifies the story.”

“It depends on how many mistakes were in the manuscript. Relax and we’ll talk about it,” I said.

“I can’t relax. I feel like ‘The Great Writing Oracle’ has thrown me in at the deep end and I’m in a dark place.”

“Well, your name is Jonah,” I smiled.

“Very funny, Dave, but this is serious.”

“So, your story, according to the critics, is an entertaining and compelling read BUT it is spoiled by grammatical mistakes and wrong punctuation. Consequently, readers will stop reading the story.”

“That’s right, but I don’t see it that way. I think a great story is of prime importance.”

“I agree, as long as the number of G&P mistakes are low.”

“Sometimes, I really get confused by the rules of grammar and punctuation,” said Jonah, dejectedly.

“Don’t feel bad, my friend, because G&P are the fiends that lurk in the shadows of our lives, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting writer, leaving confusion in its wake.”

“I know from my own experience if a book grabs me and pulls me into the story, I don’t mind a few grammar and punctuation mistakes,” said Jonah, confidently.

“Even though the story might be of prime importance, G&P are the framework that hold you story up.”

“Doesn’t it get up your nose, all this nit-picking by the pedants?” said Jonah, with a twinkle in his eyes.

“Well Jonah, it can tie you in knots at times, but G&P are necessary elements in a piece of writing. You want to communicate effectively, don’t you? So, if you want to make the meaning of your great story CLEAR, G&P are there to help you.”

“So Dave, what do you suggest I do?”

“Learn the basics of G&P, they aren’t the meat of your story, but they are the tools of your trade.”

“What about my readers?” said Jonah, quizzically.

“Don’t worry, your readers are NOT going to reject your story because of a few typos and G&P mistakes. They know how to recognize a great story.”

“I’m so glad I have you to guide me through this linguistic labyrinth,” said Jonah, smiling.

“My pleasure, but remember to study the mechanics and your stories will have a good foundation.”

We shook hands and I said:

“Remember, you have to know the ropes in order to pull the strings!”

The Skeptic

I was sitting next to a chap in the pub, watching TV. And he blurted out:

“I don’t believe it.”

I said, “What don’t you believe?”

“That man on the telly said, if you pick up baby birds and return them to the nest, their mother will reject them. I don’t believe it!” He was shouting now.

“Okay, okay, keep your shirt on. You must be a skeptic.”

“You bet I am, I question everything!”

“That must create a lot of stress.”

“No, no, I don’t have any stress. I love being a skeptic. My motto is:

I’ll believe it, when I see it and I’ll see it, when I believe it!”

“Well, you were right about the birds in the hand being rejected. Birds don’t smell too well, so they wouldn’t be able to tell whether or not humans handled their chicks.”

“I knew it wasn’t true, that’s why I questioned it.”

“But isn’t it strange that so many people hold on to this belief when it’s not true?”

“People are gullible,” he said knowingly.

“I’ll buy you a beer. Two more beers here bartender.”

“I don’t believe it! You are actually buying me a beer! Someone told me you were a tightwad.”

I smiled, “See don’t believe everything you are told.”

“The other day, a fella said to me, “Chameleons change their color to blend in with their surroundings. I told him, I don’t believe it.”

“You are spot on to not believe it, because it’s not true. They change color to communicate their mood, territory and it’s part of their mating behavior.”

“You see, I learn a lot because I question things.”

“So, there’s a reason for you madness?”


We both laughed.

“A lot of people accept faulty reasoning and erroneous beliefs because they don’t think straight about the world. People need more critical faculties.”

“You know you’re a pretty smart chap.”

“You better believe it. I try to be less accepting of superstition and sloppy thinking.”

“So, you have an accurate view of the world.”

“Right, now please excuse me, I have to go home and watch my favorite movie, “Coincidence on 34th street.”

“I don’t believe it,” he shouted.