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Profound Thoughts

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John R York

February 5, 2023

Memories versus Remembering

The other day my sister, Bobbi, asked me if I remembered  breaking her good wine glasses. I didn’t and I asked her to tell me when it happened. She said it was in Fort Lauderdale when she lived in a place with a tree out front and there was a long hallway or something to that affect. Well, I moved from Fort Lauderdale in 1990. I couldn’t remember the place she described and didn’t remember breaking her glasses, although I’m certain I’ve broken scores of glasses during my life, no doubt hers included.

“I can’t believe you don’t remember that!” she exclaimed. This was clearly a momentous event in her mind, but I just couldn't conjure up any memory of it at all.

But I can remember things from when I was very young, like maybe two-years old, three-years old. I remember my brother, Alan, who is three years younger than me, peeing on my grandma’s back while lying in a bassinette when he was a newborn infant. I remember details of a wild cherry tree that I used to climb back in Ohio when I was very young. I remember my dog Weazer.

I have thousands of memories, some good, some bad, but the things I can’t remember probably number in the millions. I have the very embarrassing incapacity of remembering names of people I meet. I try to focus on names, I really do, but typically I have forgotten your name within a few seconds of our introduction. It’s an affliction really.

There are times when somebody from the past will ask me if I remember such and such, and it triggers a flow of memories. There are many more times when I’m asked if I remember something, and I come up completely blank. In fact, there have been times when I think the thing I’m being asked to remember didn’t really even happen, and I wonder if I’m maybe becoming senile.

There’s clearly a difference between memories and remembering. I have good memories, but not so good remembering. I was a guest at a book club meeting back in California a few years ago. They had read my book, The Eighth Day, and were asking me questions about it. A couple of the club members were talking about a character named Ryker and wanted to know how I came up with that persona.

“Who’s Ryker?” I asked. The room grew quiet and everyone stared at me as if I’d suddenly grown a horn in the middle of my head. They reminded me that Ryker was the main character of the novel. “Oh. That Ryker.”

In my defense, I was deeply into the creation of my next book, Journey To Eden, at that time, which required a huge amount of research and featured several main characters. Having said that, I must admit that there are many times when I walk into a room and can’t remember why I went there. I think that happens to a lot of people though.

So if you ever run into me and say “Hello, John,” and I stand there smiling with a glazed look in my eyes, I’m trying to remember your name, or if I really even know you, or when we met. I know, it’s sad.

What's in a Name

Speaking of names, do you ever wonder who comes up with the names of things? You know, there are people who get paid to dream up the names of stuff we use. Take vehicles for example. The names given to car models are crafted, I suppose, to trigger some kind of positive response. But what are we supposed to feel about a car called the Ciera, or the Eos, or an Integra, or an Ioniq? I’m pretty sure these names don’t mean anything, they’re just made up words, aren't they? I’ll grant you that names like Wrangler or Yukon might invoke feelings of toughness, but I find that most names given to vehicle models are pretty lame. Maybe it's just me.

And what about medicine? Okay, I’m glad somebody came up with the name “aspirin” to replace acetylsalicylic acid, but the names for the plethora of pharmaceutical products that bombard us in advertisements these days are pretty weird. Dupixent, Rybelsus, Humira, Ozempic are just a few of these product names. It makes sense to name them something other than the actual chemical names of the ingredients, but these brand names are essentially nonsense words. The sad thing is that, if you watch television, you begin to remember them. I mean, who doesn’t know what Viagra is, despite the fact that the word, viagra, means nothing?

Scientists name things too. In fact, these guys are the champions of bizarre names. They’re often real brain busters. I went to my pharmacy recently to pick up a new prescription. The pharmacist was about to ask me if the name of the drug I was picking up was correct, but he told me he couldn’t pronounce it so he showed me the name on the label: ezetimibe/simvastatin. What? “Hell, I don’t know, and I can’t pronounce it either.” Where do they come up with these names?

I’m probably treading on thin ice here, but what about people’s names? We know that parents name their kids (as opposed to marketing people). When I was young, all the people I knew had names like Bob, Frank, Bill, Jim, Kathy, Mary, Patty. I guess those names must be reserved for old people like me. When I meet young people these days their names sound kind of exotic; like Asher, Aurora, Drake, Willow, Sage, Briar, Raine, and Teagan. There was a teenaged boy in my wife’s art class whose name was Orangello. I know things change over time, including names. My family tree includes names like Florence, Claude, Zebulon, Femme Osage (seriously), and Philander.

I could go into the tech world for some really bizarre nomenclature, but no, not today. Instead I will leave you with a recommendation:  Go to the Corporate BS Generator website at I think you will be entertained.

These are some of the things I lay awake at night thinking about.

Romance Novels

Why would I want to talk about romance novels? Depending on how one slices and dices fictional categories, they are the most popular selling books, with unit sales reaching 47 million in 2021.

My stories typically mix and bend the standard genres used to classify fiction. They often include some blend of fantasy, adventure, science fiction, and mystery. All my novels contain accurate historical references and a love story (aka romance). The problem with writing like this is that it’s difficult to target a specific market for selling my books. I know – whaa, whaa, whaa.

My friend, Elaine, in Ramona, California, told me she reads all my books, but she also tells me that none of them are the kind of book she would normally choose to read. She reads mine because she wants to support local authors (although I don’t live there anymore). So, I asked my faithful, if somewhat reluctant friend, what kind of books she did like. Of course, it was romance novels.

So, I gave this some serious thought, then I told her that all my novels were romantic, which is why she has generally ended up enjoying the books. I thought I would share my observations with everyone else.

If a woman writes a romance novel, it’s sexy. If a man writes a romance novel, it’s probably considered licentious. So, I disguise my romances by weaving them into every tale.

Wolf and Chase, the two elderly protagonists who save the world in Mind Meld, were very much in love, with many tender moments during the adventure. Chase was cast as a strong female character who kicks ass when necessary.

The Eighth Day stars Ryker and Cloe, two very young heroes who go from childhood friends to lovers. They take on an army of bad guys and lead the good guys in the quest to rebuild America. Cloe is a very strong female character - a super brainiac scientist and a natural leader.

There are multiple romances in Journey To Eden, most of them “forbidden love”. Young Anna, one of the principal characters is a beautiful badass that guys in the story don’t want to piss off unless they want to wake up dead.

Then there’s Billy and Abby’s sweet, if awkward and geeky, romance in Billy Bean’s Ghost. Abby, another strong female character, is a psychiatrist and strong influence in solving the murder mystery.

Perseus and Penelope fall in love in Trouble in Choctaw County and help each other through very tough times. Penelope is a full-on cowgirl who ends up having to take over her father’s ranch. There’s a very romantic love scene at the end.

So, if you haven’t read all my books because you prefer romance novels, you’re missing out on some pretty good stuff, if I do say so myself.