DL Fowler's Blog

Who is Right?

A recent post in this blog celebrated Abraham Lincoln’s declaration “Right Makes Might.” When I looked at who ‘liked’ that post on Facebook, I was fascinated by the contrasting political and religious opinions of those who gave it a thumbs up. I wondered, how can opposites claim to occupy the same moral high ground?

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Right Makes Might

On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln closed his address at New York City’s Cooper Union with the following words that turned an age old phrase on its head.

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith, let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it.

His speech at Cooper Union set him on track to win the Republican nomination for president. The world view he capsulized in this quote is what fueled his greatness.

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Have the Good Old Days Returned?

Posted in Abraham Lincoln, Abuse, Civil War, Psychopaths, Research, Slavery, Uncategorized, US History by DLFowler on May 22, 2016

Today is the 160th anniversary of the caning of Senator Charles Sumner. It’s not far-fetched to imagine that kind of thing happening today.

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Hating Teresa Armato

Posted in Abuse, Psychology, Psychopaths, PTSD, Victimization by DLFowler on July 2, 2015

Why do women prefer to hate Teresa Armato, rather than face the fact that she needs help?

Is it that they don’t want to admit that women like Armato exist? Is it that she doesn’t fit a stereotype? Are they afraid of her?

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Lincoln Scholarship – an evolution

Writing about Lincoln is tricky, in part because today’s author must reconcile three distinct periods of Lincoln scholarship that take different slants on who he was and what he believed.

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Abraham Lincoln’s Core Principle

Posted in Inspiration, Lincoln, Lincoln Raw, Lincoln's Psychology, Research, Themes, Writing by DLFowler on December 12, 2013

This will be short.

I grew up thinking Abraham Lincoln had a moral compass that always pointed North and made him superior to the rest of us. That he was passionate about Liberty and Justice for All, while we are mostly focused on liberty and justice for us. As I sit here doing one more pre-publication round of edits on Lincoln Raw—the human side of history I came across a much ignored excerpt from a speech he gave during his one term in Congress. It pretty well sums up the guiding principle that was his North Star for most of his life. 

In the early days of the world, the Almighty said to the first of our race, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” Since then, no good thing has been enjoyed by us without the necessity of labor. But it has so happened in all ages of the world that some have labored and others have, without labor, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong. To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor is a most worthy object of any good government.

When I say “most of his life” I don’t  suggest that he ever abandoned this principle. What I mean is that this principle led him to a new, higher law in his later years. It was this new understanding that led the world in, and still leads us in the unfinished business of, re-defining Liberty and Justice for All.

What are your thoughts? Go ahead and leave a comment.

No Idea How This Wound Up On My Blog

Posted in Characters, Inside a Writer's Head, Plots, Plots, Psychology, Writing by DLFowler on February 25, 2011

Here’s what we love in a good story – a protagonist we care about (it doesn’t hurt if we fall in love with that person) and an antagonist we want to see the world get even with.  Hmm … it sounds like the way we like our politics.

 I saw a comment recently to the effect that dictators (I think the reference was to the Saudi royal family) hold on to power with generous social programs. Who bites the hand that feeds them?  The commenter made a veiled reference to American politicians as well.

But here’s the real deal. Despots throughout history have seized and maintained power by employing the same emotions that help people like me sell novels. As human beings we love to hate demons and save victims.  Write a book that does both and it will sell (of course you have to get the word out, which isn’t easy.)  Demonize the other guy in politics and people will follow you even when they’re hungry, as long as you get the word out and you’re a sympathetic victim or you can find an embraceable poster child.

The nice thing about  being a novelist is that your plot doesn’t have to be so believable if you can pull off the love/hate thing well enough. Your plot can be sort of like … well, real life. And readers will suspend belief long enough to follow your characters on whatever journey you have in mind for them.

Oh, I forgot. Life is stranger than fiction. If your story is too much like real life,  people won’t  believe it.  They’ll go back to thinking politicians buy power with generous social programs, and what they said about their adversaries was, well, it had to be the truth. Right?

Non-violent Psychopath at Risk

Antisocial and narcissistic. Jacob has to avoid both at any cost. The stack of articles he’s pored over the last dozen years say so. They tell him he could have turned down the serial killer path long ago. But early on, he chose to flog the other seven ‘defects’ into submission. Or at least he’d channeled them into a brilliant career as a corporate CEO.   

 Burying the memory of the little girl who lit up his life – she always made him beam, at least until she was taken from him – helped balance his sense of right and wrong. As long as he kept that straight he could make his narcissism seem to be about other people’s wounds. It was easy to rally the troops when he defended another tormented or abused soul. That gave him a sense of belonging to something bigger than himself at the same time he got a taste of the justice he ached for. So he’d make it about something other than himself. Unselfishness at its highest. But if he fixated on his own horror, he’d be a lost soul no one else cared about. And eventually, all he’d become obsessed with balancing the scales any way he could.

 Keeping that stolen little girl buried in the clutter of his memories these last dozen years had kept Jacob on the sociable path. Now meeting Amanda took that option off the table. If their ripples had never met, he’d still be safe. So would the rest of the world. Except for Amanda.

So if he burned Amanda’s violator, would that just be the beginning? Or would justice taste so sweet he’d devour every scumbag who might have robbed him of the little girl he once cherished? A tingle rushed up his spine as he imagined draining the lifeblood from one bastard after another, like a vampire feeding its thirst for survival.

A lawyer who writes about justice?

Posted in Favorite Writers, Robert Dugoni, Themes by DLFowler on April 26, 2010

Of course that’s not me.  I didn’t even know lawyers have anything to do with justice.

But Robert Dugoni, NYT BestSelling author, captures the concept with the skill of an artist.  Not that justice is the theme I’m focused on – but you get the idea – expect to stand along side my characters as they face of life or death struggles fighting, or maybe convincing themselves to keep on fighting, for ideals or relationships they hold dear.

The stakes are always higher when they’re personal … so that’s what we’ll do – get personal.