Sunday, September 29, 2013

7 Quick Takes

1. If I didn't have these ten people to take care of, I'd hang out at the beauty parlor all day. Not because I want to get my hair done.  There are lots of testimonies in the history of this blog to prove I absolutely hate sitting still with someone fussing on my hair for hours at a time.  After twenty minutes, I'm ready to bolt.  However, I do love listening to the stories that seem to get told only at the hair salon.  Today, I took my daughter who had a day off to get her hair trimmed. She was traumatized that her hair was cut an inch --I wanted two or three, one was a compromise. Lou was a stroke victim and came here once a week to get her hair done. She was driven by her husband of 25 years.  She said he asked her to wait for him while he went to college. She said no and married someone else.  When that first marriage failed, he sought her out again.  She talked about how he cooks and drives her everywhere and there he was, sitting at the front of the store, waiting for his bride.   In this day when so many stories told on the news and everywhere else reveal a dearth of patience, a simple timeless holding on to each other (she was 84 this August), sounds wondrous.  Yes my brain went to Penelope too.

2. I never liked Aesop.

No one ever came out happy, only even.  But I read those fables over and over again.  One I really disliked was the story of the bat, who in the war between the beasts and birds refused to commit to either side and thus was shunned by both when peace broke out.  It reminded me of the reading about being lukewarm, neither hot nor cold gets spit out.  As a not self published author of an e-book, I'm neither bird nor beast.  The bookstores will host you if you are self published, or if you have a hard copy from a small publishing company, but absent a tangible book to put in their hands, it's like a virtual accomplishment in their eyes.  Sigh.

On the bright side, my inner monologue says in response, "I'm Batman."

3. Our National Discourse

We've come to a point and I blame Facebook, Twitter and other social media including com boxes, that whole scale dismissal of discussion based on political alignment substitutes for reasoned debate.  Recently I had to leave a facebook group that asked me to join after being subjected to constant group think that explained how all those who disagree with the existing law must be either backwater uneducated FAUX watching idiots or mind numbed capitalists who would return us to a nation of slave holders in an instant if the law allowed.  They also mocked all who hold faith as being authentic and real, those who are pro-life, and those who It is possible to disagree with the implementation of Obamacare without being someone who desires that the poor die, the sick get sicker, and insurance companies insulate their insulation with one thousand dollar bills and burn the smaller stuff for fuel and kicks.  

It is possible to say, this does not cover the people it was designed to cover, it makes hard demands on small businesses, and why should the public be forced to do something Congress and those who are friends with Congress can opt out of, without being declared an uneducated maggot who deserves to suffer.

The other day, some folks who clearly think the world of the existing plan that goes into effect in three days, declared that those who oppose it ought to be killed.   They then said, "Just kidding."  No.

Rationalizing cruelty isn't allowed.  You can't pretend that all things you disagree with are offensive to the point of needing to be silenced lest someone suffer emotional injury, and then hurl vile threats at the opposition and say, "Can't you take a joke?"

There is no excuse for rudeness or malice, ever on either side.

4.  How's Helen doing?  

Well, she's published. She's sold at least 18 copies via Amazon since August 20th.  I don't know about the 11 days before then, as I didn't have a counter on my book.  I also don't know about the I bookstore or the Barnes and Noble Bookstore.   I know I've sold more, but I also know now it is up to word of mouth at least until I write another book and/or Helen comes out as a book, not merely an e-book.   Yes I believe that will happen in the coming year.  Yes I'm writing Penelope.  This past week, I added 1.6 k, which while professional writers put out five times that in a week, is good progress for me.  

5.  Why's Penelope taking so long?

First, I had to shake off Helen. She's a tough one to let go of, she's dominated my brain for so long, it makes it hard to readjust, her voice is easy to me.  Penelope had to be more contemplative, more pensive in nature, and arguably, less charismatic but at the same time innately noble, fundamentally determined to be good even at great cost.   Second, the primary and secondary sources for Helen were rich and multi-faceted. The primary and secondary sources for Penelope, much more limited.  So I've had to really marinate in the readings and writings, and that takes time.  Third, and this will sound odd, the second book is harder.  Why? Because now, I have a yardstick.

6. How did we manage before now?

One thing I'm always struck by, is how much the people who came before us managed without the benefit of all we have today.  The books they wrote and read, the ability to draw upon that wealth of knowledge absent google indicated extraordinary base information and capacity to apply it.  It seems today, we write a million times a million more words, but we understand each other and the ideas of history and policy, philosophy and ethics less and less as a culture.  How can we hold the whole of the world at our fingertips and never want to leave our own personal sand boxes where we hold court?  How is it that we now have a society that shouts down anyone who disagrees?

7.  What am I reading?  Rock Bottom Blessings, The Odyssey and Writing Story.   Why am I reading three books?  Because I am disorganized, so I read whichever of the three I find when I snatch a few minutes to feed the brain.   If I can't find any of the three, I'll start reading a fourth.

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