Nov 292016

Just climbed out of the bathroom with the family and the dog. Wow. We haven’t done that since the boys got all spindly. (And kudos to everyone for being reasonably sweet-smelling.) So we went from no significant rain for seven months to a line of severe thunderstorms with embedded tornadoes. It’s not over as I type, but it looks mostly so.

It’s tough for me to get any mental purchase on writing for pleasure right now. I have the same kinds of thoughts I always have, but I haven’t had the time or the frame of mind to stop and jot a few notes, which is how I usually do things. (Or, I have potentially entertaining ideas about people, but I know I couldn’t keep any writing about them effective yet vague enough to remain anonymous.)

That reminds me of the number one piece of advice I have for any writer (so far): be able to record an idea in any environment. Pen & paper; voice recorder on your phone; whatever, use it. If you have a good idea in the shower, get out and write it down. If you’re lying back down after getting up to pee in the middle of the night and you have a good idea, sit up and write it down. At least scrawl a few words to give your brain a fighting chance in the morning.

One of the biggest lies you will ever tell yourself is “I’ll remember that,” referring to a good idea.

No, you won’t. And the harder you try to pull it back from the abyss, the more quickly it will slip out of reach, just like sand in a closing fist. It is agonizing to remember nothing about an idea except that it was good. I had an idea about a month ago that I remember as possibly book-level in magnitude, and I can’t tell you the first thing about it because it was 4:30 in the morning and I wanted to go back to sleep more than I wanted to sit up on an elbow holding a flashlight in my teeth for two freakin’ minutes.

Is that tendency actually tactically worse with age? Or is it that I’m wise enough now to recognize the tragedy of it? Or a combination?

Sometimes this mental mood feels like “adrift.” Other times it feels like a growth opportunity, if I can figure out how to effectively listen for it.

 Posted by at 11:20 pm
Nov 152016

Well, first of all, I keep waiting for the crazy to abate a little, but I’m not sure it’s going to anytime soon.

Donald Trump won the presidential election a week ago. Mostly, what I think about what’s happened since then is that nearly everyone, but mostly people who oppose his victory, is in a mad rush to write the next narrative to which to cling.

Today, it is that the nefarious “alt-right,” full of white supremacists, race-sex fetishists, and probably people who put ketchup on their scrambled eggs, will run the United States government. (These grave concerns, of course, are uttered breathlessly by the same people who brushed off warnings about the endless stream of high-ranking officials affiliated with questionable Muslim organizations that have had the run of the West Wing for the past eight years.)

Today, it is also that Donald Trump is so out of touch, he didn’t even know that there wasn’t a permanent White House staff, and our esteemed president is going to need to take some extra time holding his hand to make sure he understands everything. (These grave concerns, of course, are uttered breathlessly by the same people who were fine with Barack Obama’s onion skin-thin resume.)

Need we get into proper reactions to a peaceable election in a free country if we don’t like the outcome? Why, they’re arson and assault, of course!

I said a couple of weeks ago that I hadn’t been so at ease headed into a presidential election since I was nine years old. I was resigned to an unsatisfactory result, so what was the point of getting worked up? Perhaps that’s contributing to my tranquility now. I’m content to wait and see what happens, including, as I said, starting Mr. Trump at zero.

A humongous rush to get these historic events in a box only aggravates confirmation bias. Don’t automatically latch onto the first thing that sounds correct to you.

 Posted by at 1:35 pm
Oct 252016

It wasn’t long after our esteemed president was reelected that I began imagining the candidate for whom the country would be ready in 2016. The person wouldn’t have to be overtly Reaganesque, necessarily, but the person would need his unapologetic love of country. We were starved for that in 1979, and we’re starved for it […]

 Posted by at 4:55 pm is using WP-Gravatar