Archive for April 2013

The Sad America

I've seen keyboard jockeys in the last several days disregard the rights given by the sixth, seventh, and eighth amendments to our constitution, as they rail in anger against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

If anger is all the reason people need to throw out the constitution....

Explain to me how the average American is any different from the average political extremist or even mentally ill person. The anger and hatred that drives murderers to murder is alive and well in the hearts of millions of citizens. We're reactionaries, and the only thing that keeps "us" from doing violence to each other is a piece of paper that states we can't.

There are ways around this, of course. Wars are made legal, for instance. But get rid of the document called the Bill of Rights and America would turn into a violent extremist state faster than you or I could get sand in our eyes in an Iranian desert.

We are a violent people. We can control ourselves physically, most of the time (and when things are going smoothly), but if all of the self-righteous hate spewed on the internet every day is any indicator as to what lies in our hearts, we're on tremendously shaky ground. And the irony of that is our wondering what drives people like the Tsarnaev brothers to kill innocent people.

Next time you see someone call a liberal or a conservative an asshole, or hear someone say they'd like to see a criminal tortured, or blame an immigrant or a foreigner for America's problems, you'll have the answer.

Then you'll understand what goes on in the heads of people like Timothy McVeigh and Osama Bin Laden, and hopefully you'll realize that the only difference between people like them and people like "us" is that we can still control our anger.

But the thing about anger is that it's easier to forgive than it is to bottle it up and hope it never gets out.

And unless Americans figure out what the high road actually is, we're going to be pestered by mass murderers until the day this country finally collapses like a cancer from the inside out.

We had a great opportunity to take the high road after 9/11, when the entire world was with us, and we chose to drag the entire world down into war and bloodshed to appease our own vengeful nature. Remember that!

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Full on Writer Mode

I have not blogged for a while—not for a month, obviously—but that is not an indication of a fallow field. I have been hard at work, spending March working on three short stories, getting rough drafts completed (coals for the fire).

Two of these were stories I had written as a teenager, and the third is from a couple of years ago. I rewrote them, and I hope to revise and publish them in the next month or two, except that, as it seems things are going now, plans are meant to be abandoned. At any rate, I find it enjoyable to rewrite old ideas, because I'm such a better writer now than I was, I can see these ideas made into something worth reading.

As for my novel, when I began working on “Sacrifice” in November of last year I had intended to do a draft every two months. Well, six months later I'm just now beginning to take notes on the rough draft. But I am doing so, so there's hope for me yet.

There are several reasons why it's taken longer than I expected, nor am I upset that it has. I believe that any effort I expend kicking myself for not having something finished is effort being wasted. I must put that energy into writing. Sometimes it turns out that taking a little longer at something just means it's a better project. I wrote things in February and March that I would not have thought to write in December or January, and the story is better for not having been finished until later.

The first reason it took so long was because the novel was much longer than I envisioned. 70,000 words turned into 100,000 words.

Another reason is that I took a few weeks off from writing to spend time with my father, and I can easily file that under “Tao of Anxiety.”

I can't say that I hit a writer's block in the last six months, because I didn't, but I did not write as much as I could have. I stayed around 1,000 to 2,000 words a day (an hour or so of work), a respectable figure, but far from the 5,000 words a day I was getting in the last couple of weeks of March on my short stories.

I've also been working more on other things, like overcoming anxiety, exercising, and struggling to learn Spanish, rather than putting all my eggs in my writing basket.

Those days are over. Now I'm putting my writing cap on, and it turns out it's a space helmet. I'm going to the edge of my universe with this.

I've upped the amount of time each day I spend writing. Instead of an hour or two, I'm pushing for three and four hours a day. This means I'm writing 5,000+ words and am able, as I did today, to read through 10% of my novel and take notes (and brainstorm).

My mantra can be “I can sleep when I'm dead.” I'm on a mission, and that's to publish the three short stories and the novel I'm working on right now. No matter what!

I'm motivated, and I am not going to hide behind the perfectionism or fear of success that I've hid behind before.

Expect more blog posts from me, too.

There's a new sheriff in town, and he doesn't appreciate loitering, ha!

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