Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Still here...

I guess it's been awhile since I've given this little blog any attention.   It's not for lack of thinking about it, but sometimes life just gets in the way.

I have lots to write about, not the least of which is the approaching anniversary of the surgery that no doubt saved my life.  Nothing like a brush with death to give a man a little perspective.

It's late and I'm tracking the flight that's taking my daughter and her new husband home, so I won't keep you long, but I have a lot more to say and it's coming soon.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Rights and Responsibilites

We live in an interesting culture, we Americans.  From the very beginning, our government and our society have been wrapped up in the twin virtues of rights and responsibilities.  If you did a word association experiment, if you said either of those words, you'd get the other a good portion of the time.

But somewhere along the line, our culture seems to have forgotten about one of them.  Any American who's been exposed to any other American for more than ten minutes knows which one it is.

Yes, we're all wound up about our rights, the real ones and the perceived ones.  But nobody wants to acknowledge the pesky twin, the burdensome responsibility that goes along with each and every right, real or imagined.

I'm not going to get into the politics of it, although I have my suspicions about how things got to this point.  There are plenty of blogs that cover that stuff, and I don't have the energy to argue about it.

In the interest of providing an example, though, what about a public figure who goes on TV or Twitter and says something offensive, stupid, or provably false?  When someone calls him on it, the first response is always something like:

I though this was still America.  Don't I have a right to free speech!  I'm being oppressed!  They're trying to silence me!

Well, of course, you have right to free speech.  You just exercised it.  Nobody came and threw you in the Gulag or made you disappear.  But your words don't exist in a vacuum and you are now responsible for the effect they have.  You also have the right to be stupid and wrong, and every last one of us has the right to tell you so.

I just checked my copy of the Constitution, and I don't see a right to not be offended, or a right to lie and expect not to be called to task for it.

Americans, though, hate the thought of ever being questioned or proven wrong.  I used to argue with a former co-worker that sure, we can have our own opinions, but we don't get our own facts.  If I can prove you are wrong, I'm not going to agree to disagree.  You're just wrong.

There's no shame it being wrong.  One of the most amazing things we can do as humans is to change our minds once we are exposed to new information.  So few of us are willing to do that, though.

Why?  Again, I have my suspicions, but I'll leave that to you to consider.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Just let it go

Sometimes you hear the song you need to hear at just the right time.  I'm not a country fan as a rule, but these guys go beyond those kind of labels.  I discovered them a while back on Radio Margaritaville, and I haven't heard a single tune they've done that I don't like.


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Try a little positivity

It's really easy to complain.  Believe me, I'm a master at it.

But sometimes, it's good to take a minute to be conscious of the good things.  Take this weekend, for example.

Saw a good movie - the Captain America sequel.  I can't tell you how many times I've left a movie feeling disappointed.  But this one was pretty good.

The weather could not have been better.  Sunny, mid 70s, just perfect.

I got some writing done, and got a five star review on an ebook I wrote months ago.

And I spent this afternoon making a truly killer gumbo.

Really, life is good.  Take a few minutes and look for the good stuff.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Momentum!

It seems that in writing, as well as in life, momentum is the key.

In a flash of the very, very obvious, I've discovered that the more you write, the more you write.  And, of course, the opposite is just as true, and just as obvious.

I started writing for money way back in 2006, getting a story published in a men's magazine - on a dare.  A few weeks later, with my contributor copy and a check for $100 in hand, it occurred to me that maybe there was more money to be made - easy money.

The money turned out to be not all that easy, but most definitely there.  Over the course of the next few months, I sold probably two dozen short stories of the 'Dear Penthouse' variety at $25 a pop.  Fiction, though, was not my first literary love, so I moved on to writing reviews of dirty movies for two different websites.  Do you see a theme developing?

The review work dried up as one site insisted that a byline (under a pen name) was just as good as getting paid. I disagreed.  My reviews for the other site, still under a pseudonym, did earn a bit of cash, but their budget for paid reviewers disappeared as they discovered that, while I wasn't one of them, plenty of writers were happy to write for free.

Eventually, I stopped writing altogether, other than occasional entries in the journal I've kept sporadically since high school.

Each time that I took a break from writing, it got harder to fire up the machinery again.  The whole process repeated late last year, when I took a break from writing and selling ebooks on Amazon.  The smut I wrote will never pass for fine literature, but even after months of not publishing any new material, they still sell a couple dozen copies a month

The lure of semi-easy money has drawn me in again, and finally - finally! - the words are coming again.  So to speak.

The point of all this - if there is a point - is that if you are a writer, or an artist of any kind, keep at it, even if you aren't trying to make bank.  The older I get, the harder it is to get the engine started after it's been idle for even a short time.