Changing History by How Kuff
A genre-spanning philosophical novel
A radical look at basic ways of thinking and acting that shape our current affairs      
Characters

Ellie…

*… a powerful young woman with piercing blue eyes peeking from beneath her black yak fur hat. A long blonde ponytail hung down her back.

* I yearned to visit Tibet… (to see) curvy stone buildings clinging to the slopes of jagged snowy mountains under dreamy blue skies… (and meet) spiritual seekers (with) extraordinary powers from studying and meditating in the wilderness.

* I wandered further without knowing where I was going. I was determined to find mystery somewhere in the darkness, far away from the orderly and known, far from the categorized rules and customs of my society.

* I figured we are all of the natural world. We are born to mothers who mated with fathers. Our flesh and blood are arrangements of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other trace elements interacting with the world around… just like the animals.

* So what makes us better than them? Because we can track and kill them according to our whims? Is it our religion and belief in God? Are we better because we have names for things and they do not?

* If God is real, then Nature is part of God. Nature is what gives me comfort. I will worship God through Nature.

* (Sobbing)… What a messed up world. We are so senseless.

* Doesn’t that scare you? To think about searching your whole life and it all comes down to a bullet?

Ray…

* A ragged-looking young man… (who)might be thought dangerous with his wild curly hair, dark furtive eyes and nose ring, but he looked more afraid than hostile.

* I don’t know where the hell we are but I’m glad I’m here.

* I walked into Tibet through the mountains and slipped around the Chinese border crossing. I have no passport. I follow no country. I am here to be at the top of the world. I am here to be above everything below.

* Hey, you can’t pin responsibility for the future on me! I spend my life outside of society.

* … knowing that every minute I am being judged… everyone I see and know are part of this great watch and judgment, as well as countless others whom I know nothing about at all.

* My only motivation is to not become stuck by your predictions. Anything is possible.”

* But extreme behaviors are what move us to do new and different things and to expand beyond our capabilities. If we don’t expand, we stagnate.

* I just feel like I’ve got to keep moving. Like I’ve got to keep from crystallizing into something… into anything at all. I refuse to make the same mistakes over and over again.

* Does know really have any meaning for us? What has happened is over and now we live with it.

Lana…

* … a petite young woman with pale skin and shiny black waist-length hair. Lana tossed her hair back and laughed. Her violet eyes twinkled with amusement… (and) her ears sparkled from top to bottom with silver and glass beads.

* … so we keep moving… traveling by bicycle, trying to live lightly and not contribute to war or poverty.

* Eventually we realized that we couldn’t avoid our history. We’re not born free. We come into this world with the weight of the past.

* We wanted to be part of something that really mattered. Being part of a group, bound as one, brought us together with people dedicated to a purpose… a purpose higher than personal gain.

* I love nature. Some of my best experiences have been in the wild. So am I somehow evil for my love of the natural world?

* We’re all just passing through this land. This ground does not come free. It’s given to us over the tragedies and bloodshed of others. We must acknowledge and pay homage to those before us.

Raz…

* … in his twenties, of medium height and build, with dark almond-shaped eyes and reddish-brown skin. His spiky red hair and large ruby earring gave him a fierce look, but he smiled and patted Lana’s thigh, saying, “Yes, Raz I am, friend and lover of Lana… ”

* We were ambassadors of life exchanging ideas, hopes, revelations and sometimes fears with people along the way.

* Whatever life brought, we tried to accept and make the best of it. And we really enjoyed letting the winds of karma swirl around us.

* Lana and I felt like we could not ignore or flee the atrocities carried out by our government… in our names as citizens… we could not sit by idly, using goods and services from the government while passively accepting its actions.

Karyn…

* … a slender woman around thirty with dark brown skin and bright green eyes twirled around and giggled; as she turned, her braids, twisted and woven with black silk and turquoise beads, clicked and clattered.

* I am sooo happy to be here breathing with you. For a while there I wasn’t sure what would become of us.

* I was into patterns and theories and had no interest in using my knowledge to build things. It’s strange how you can end up someplace and not really be sure how you got there.

* I tried to do the right thing for my government. I listened to what they told me about being on the side of good versus bad and I helped them go after the bad guys.

* We were professionals doing work assigned to us, developing products to be used fighting and killing enemies around the world… whoever and wherever they might be. I was told that I was a patriotic citizen and a great asset to my country.

* I am still amazed at how quickly the sense of personal power and hopeful exuberance can fade from your life.

* I don’t know what is really benefiting our country and what is being used as a political tool. Not knowing this, I can’t judge what work I do is good and what is a tool for the powerful.

* I realized that life consists of priorities. There is not enough time to do all that I want so I must do the things that I deem are most important.

Lorraine…

* … a tall, voluptuous woman with curly auburn hair, fair skin and sad pale-green eyes…

* We have such a strong desire to make order and sense out of our experiences and find reasons for what occurs. But we’re often at a loss for words when we try to describe things that are far beyond our current notions.

* Only the physical separated us and even that blended and dissolved, while we were engaged like yin and yang.

* … our society often deals out harsh punishments for acts of rebellion. But I think with all the problems in the world, we need some different approaches. Maybe the kids can figure out what to do if we just let them.

* We’re taught to disregard feelings and senses that are not accepted, and are punished if we speak about them.

* … perhaps we actually experience people in ways that we’re not able to describe, yet these impressions and communications help make up our understanding of people.

* The rigid rules of science and the tenets of our religions keep us within tight social bounds…

* I was furious at the world.

* The past is too big to change. When it is done it is over…

Cibi…

* (he)… bowed faintly, his neck muscles protruding and the top of his shaved head glistening in the dim light.

* I was born and raised in a small remote village located at the base of a large mountain. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been and I love it more than any other place on Earth.

* It seemed to me that we were falling into a cycle of violence to which there was no end… and that the bridges back… were burning.

* So now… I travel the world by bicycle and try to be self-sufficient. But unlike you, I don’t seek a home. If I can’t live in my country, in my village, I will forever wander.

* Everyone wants more money and more things. Things we never had and things we never needed. If we keep wanting and taking so much there will be no room left for what we were or who we are.

* As long as there are enough who will subject others to their dominations and tortures, we will relive our history.

* This rock that I grasped was life… bringer of rain, provider of air and water, supplier of wood, home to plants and animals, refuge for people. I poured out my love to the mountain…

* We only rise when we overcome the forces that hold us down.

Sonam the teahouse host…

* He had tied his wild hair back into a thick ponytail that hung down to his waist. The travelers could now see large turquoise pendants hanging from his ears and a long cylindrical agate bead adorned with swirling black and white eye patterns centered on his red coral necklace. He looked very distinguished.

* Yes, have some tea with butter. It will warm you up and cheer your spirits. Noodles will be ready soon. When you are tired you can sleep on the benches. There will be no more travel for a while.

Ngawang the Buddhist nun...

* Life is so short and changes so quickly that we bless and embrace every moment… So in our mountain monasteries, we pare away all but the necessities of life and focus on those things that do not change from time to time… from life to life.

* … we laugh at the power of the world and our precarious balancing act.

* At heart we study the existence of mind and the relationship of mind to what we do in the world.

* No person is an island. Everything we do, every motion we make, every action we take, every event in which we participate affects and influences that which is around us… and that which happens.

* The harder we try to understand the why of our existence the more the concepts and terms that we use slip away and lose meaning.

Lobsang the Buddhist monk…

* As is everyone else, we are fortunate to be here. Though the snow falls and the winds blow, we are all warm and safe. Bless you, Mr. Sonam.

* Yes, almost magical. Our country is the roof of the world and only very distinguished things may live here. That is why the land is so sparse. But that makes the small things in life—like sitting by a fire out of the wind and drinking hot tea, or meeting another traveling soul—all the more pleasurable.

* Death is a transition. When one thing dies another blossoms. Sometimes the only way to open a new chapter is by closing the old. But the transition between the two can be very difficult.

* Time and events people, places and things are in continual change and rearrangement. There is nothing we can do to alter this fact.