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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

It's my birthday & I can rant if I want to

One of the nice things about being in your 60s is that everyone expects you to have an opinion about everything. And I guess I do; I just don't usually subject people to all of them. But since it's my birthday, I feel bound to express an opinion on... well, just about everything. I'll spare you the details by putting it behind cuts. Read on if you are interested.

My Birthday Horoscope

Best horoscope prognosticator ever is Jill Goodman, with her forecasts available to everyone on Robin Hood Radio:
9/27/2010: YOUR BIRTHDAY: Remind yourself of the aim, objective, ambition, etc. whenever you have a moment of wondering what to do next or how to go about thus-and-such. This is bidding fair to be one year when the more tangible progress you can make towards the ultimate goal or destination, the happier you'll be with your world at large, and those individuals that make up a part of it.

No kidding. I find that most years (or days, for that matter) that I see tangible progress toward the ultimate goal, I feel happier. The key is figuring out exactly what the "ultimate goal or destination" is. Every year I live, I'm making progress toward the grave, but that isn't what I consider my ultimate destination. Note to self: Get those vague notions about what you want in life put into some clearly expressable form so you can tell if you've made tangible progress towards your goals. Should have done that at 20!

The Writing is on the wall, but the agent can't read it from there

I have written a novel in every NaNoWriMo event since 2004, making this my 7th year to participate. On top of that, I tossed in an extra novel in 2007, so 8 novels in 7 years isn't bad. Add to that a play script during Script Frenzy this year and it sounds like the writing stuff is going pretty well.

But only one of those books is in print and even though it is beautiful and has sold a few copies, I am part owner of Long Tale Press, so I'd like some broader third party recognition of my writing. This year, "Gutenberg's Other Book" won second place in the PNWA Literary competition and I have three agents and an editor who expressed an interest in seeing it. It will be submitted the first week of October, come hell or high water. My readers have given me great comments and I can make this a great book.

My non-fiction proposal will be on its way to AgentR tomorrow. That's been two months since she asked for it at PNWA this summer. An editor is waiting for her submission to him and this has a good chance of success. If it comes through, it's going to take me close to three months full time to write it. Trying to figure out how to support myself during that time will be a challenge.

And I'm taking a turn toward the darker side with my NaNovel this year. "The Volunteer" is the story of a successful young man just out of college who volunteers to trade places with a homeless man and thirty years later finds that he still can't break the bonds of chronic homelessness and alcoholism. It is a literary piece, focused entirely on his experiences and thoughts as he wanders--apparently aimlessly--through life and the country. When he finally gets the opportunity to return to his comfortable, successful life, he realizes why he volunteered in the first place.

Politics are Getting Personal

I have little time or respect for most people who actually choose to go into politics. Read the papers and you'll instantly see why. (Eric Oemig, Washington State Senator 45th Legislative District is a noted exception.) My beef is that representation of the best interest of the people--whether on a city, state, or national basis--is a low or non-existent priority. This crosses all political boundaries and parties. We have come to the point where our politicians represent their own interest or cause. Maybe we were always at that point. Therefore, we vote for people whose interests most closely match our own. There is no greater good.

Take for example the campaign signage along 148th Ave. NE here in Bellevue. The people who profess to wanting to represent the people of our neighborhoods in congress, council, and court have absolutely no qualms about littering our neighborhoods with campaign signs for six months of the year. The first signs this year went up in July and won't come down until after the election in November. And it isn't enough to post a campaign sign. There seems to be a competition to see who can post the most campaign signs in the least amount of space. The section of 148th from NE 8th St to BelRed Road (half a mile) often has 10-20 campaign signs for an individual candidate. This in the name of free speech, yet I can be ticketed for putting up a yard sale sign in the same "public property" location that is only up for 48 hours. I am starting a campaign to "Vote for Someone Else" if you recognize a name on the ballot from signage along 148th Ave, but I can't put up any signs for it.

I believe that one of the worst laws we have in effect today is the one that puts initiatives on the ballot. If you told me your initiative provides free health-care, transportation, and jobs for everyone and would cost the taxayers nothing while reducing the price of gas to 35 cents a gallon, I'd still vote NO on election day. Why? Every initiative is written from the perspective of a special interest to appeal to the broadest range of voters. They are not debated and cannot be amended. They circumvent the very concept of representative government with blind obedience to a majority that typically has no idea what they are voting on. We elect representatives to carefully consider legislation and enact that which best serves the greater good. Ironically, the only way we could get the initiative law off the books would be through an initiative. Why would our representatives voluntarily take responsibility for the laws that are enacted when they can write it off to "the people's choice."

And that brings me to my last rant on politics. While I will vote NO for every initiative, I don't expect my elected representatives to blindly vote NO on every item of legislation that comes before them. Nor do I expect them to use procedural rules to block legislation from being debated. A representative government requires that laws be debated, revised as appropriate, and enacted. I won't vote for anyone who simply follows a party line in their voting. The last legislator that I can recall who stood up for what was right regardless of party affiliation and national temper was Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota. It was inevitable that he wouldn't live to see re-election.

Love, Life, and Happiness

I'm a pretty damned happy curmudgeon. I grouse a bit, but I'm usually not far from a smile. My wife and daughter are a constant source of joy. The DD is 17. Every day I marvel at the incredible young woman she has become. I like her choice of friends (even the boyfriend) and some of her music. I'm amazed at the selfless support of my wife through all the things that we vowed 22 years ago. You know, sickness, health, rich, poor, hair or no hair. I don't remember that those were the exact words, but that's the gist of it. We are still in a constant state of discovery about each other and about ourselves, and each discovery strengthens the bond.

I'm happy to say that my marriage does not need to be protected from the "homosexual agenda," and I'm very sorry for those so insecure in their relationships that they feel bound to discriminate against others to reinforce their security. I recently saw a quote (unknown source) that said "The price of freedom keeps going up while the quality keeps going down." I believe that anyone who had a concern for their fellow human beings would be bound to treat them humanely. Say YES to gay marriage and NO to Don't ask don't tell. In other words, grow up America. Fix yourself, not others.

Don't know what inspired that sub-rant, but now I'm back on subject. Add to the mix two young greyhounds who think I'm god and insist I exercise once or twice a day, and I've got a pretty good life.

We're gradually making progress on stripping out the flotsam and jetsam of life that has accumulated in our home over the last 20 years, and that's a big relief. You know, more stuff just isn't necessarily the answer to life's biggest questions. It's all about finding our bliss and letting that rule what we do, where we live, how we live. I can't say I'm changing the world, but I hope I'm improving a little corner of it.

Was that it?

It doesn't really seem like I had all that much to say. I like living, even on the days my back or shoulder hurt. I like my family and my friends. I like a nice glass of wine in the evening. I like my dogs. And maybe, just a little, I like being old enough to speak my mind and have people write it off as just another old fart blowing steam.



Happy Birthday :)

I enjoyed your post, and didn't consider them rants at all. :) And congrats on your PNWA 2nd place win (I'm a 2nd placer too!) I've got my fingers crossed for you with agents and editors.

Donna Cummings

Happy birthday!

Great post! I think your opinions are interesting and completely worth reading, so don't hesitate to share more, even on days that aren't your birthday. :) Great points about politics. I think so many people these days are so focused on their party vs. the other party that they forget that there are some evils that are shared between both. Your idea for this year's novel sounds amazing. Can't wait to see how it evolves!

You might find this link interesting: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/24/AR2010092404113.html?hpid=opinionsbox1