Saturday, January 31, 2009

Is this guy for real?

Charles Krauthammer has a valid point of view and one that the Obamessiah has yet to see. For what is he apologizing? What is he going to make right that previous presidents, both Democrat and Republican, have not already done? Is the Obamessiah for real?

That is all. Disperse.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Meet my beloved

I was lying in bed, all warm and lightly scented from a hot shower a few minutes before, snuggled down in the covers reading the third chapter of Page After Page by Heather Sellers when it hit me that for some -- like me -- writing is a lover. (It was a lovely gift from Spike's leman) Sound strange? Not at all.

I carry a paper journal and pen (new fountain pen and ink) around with me even here in the cottage. I pause movies, conversations, cooking, reading and work when something sparks and idea so I can write it down. When I start writing in my journal about my day it inevitably segues into writing about a story or figuring out motivation or plot or characters as they come to me. I think about writing all the time. I am writing all the time. I sometimes have trouble focusing on work because something will spark an idea about writing. It's just like being truly in love. I can wait to write. I stare off into the distance or go silent during phone conversations because I'm staring off into the distance chasing an idea and forget where I am. It reminds me of a scene in The Hours when Virginia Woolf is muttering to herself and completely disconnected from her sister and the people around her because she's working on her book. An idea has occurred to her and won't be denied. There are other scenes where Virginia Woolf is walking through town and talking to herself, working out a problem with the characters or the time line or the plot. It's what writers do. Writing is a lover, sometimes a demanding lover, and such a love can border on obsession -- if you're looking from the outside.

This is probably one of the things that Spike's leman meant when she talked about the touchy-feely stuff. She's not touchy feely. She's very down to earth.

When you are in love, truly and passionately, you don't have to write down in your daily schedule: Spend quality time with Lover today. You can't not. ...You find yourself not paying bills on time, not showing up for boring things, spacing out during tedious conversations. Why would you go anywhere else? ...People who are madly in love are not busy. They spend inordinate amounts of time in hotel rooms, lolling around naked, happy, content to look at the mole on their lover's neck and think about nothing at all. They get hungry, but they aren't able to plan to eat. They pulse toward food, all thorax, no head, they are fed, they go back to bed. So happy. Not on a schedule. ...There's no choice and no schedule. They are always in love, they are always doing it, they are always in writing. As in love. ...It takes a lot of trust to fall back into pleasure, to know it will always be there.

If writing isn't like that for you, if it doesn't consume your life, poke through the holes in your schedule, pop up in and take over your dreams, find its way like sand into every crevice of your life, then it's a hobby.

It can be frightening being consumed that way and there should be at least some balance -- you can't stay in bed with your writing all the time. Bills do need to be paid and jobs done if you're going to be able to afford the hotel room -- or any room -- for your lover. But in the end, having writing for a lover keeps you active and engaged and learning and growing and alive the same way a truly passionate lover does. And it is worth it.

That is all. Disperse.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Beauty & the Beast: socialist state

Once in a while I get in the mood to revisit old favorite TV shows, a very simple proposition since so many of them are now on DVD. The most recently was all three seasons of Beauty & the Beast. It was my theory that when producers refused to show an online kiss between Catherine and Vincent it sparked the desire to rectify that mistake that spawned the current overwhelming amount of paranormal romances. Here was a beast who was not too ashamed of who and what he was -- scholar, philosopher, physician and man-beast -- and didn't regret being a beast since he had the love of a beautiful and intelligent woman. There was no endless whining or brooding because he was doomed to remain outside the human community, reviled and despised, because Vincent had a vast and supportive family underneath the streets of New York City. He was loved and respected. However (you knew there was a point here somewhere), it isn't Vincent and Catherine's relationship on my mind, but the underground community.

Here is community existing below New York City, living in and expanding the tunnels of the sewer, drainage and subway access tunnels (through which no sewer or water runs, so why they exist is a mystery) and the natural caverns beneath the isle of Manhattan. There is no doubt the inhabitants of this idyllic underground world work hard to make their world habitable, but they grow no food (underground = no sunlight = no plant growth but lots of tubers and mushrooms) and generate no electricity. There are no animals to provide fat to make candles and yet there are candles everywhere. (Maybe they render the fat of their dead since they cremate them with drip trays beneath the funeral pyre to catch the sizzling juices. After all, as Frank Herbert wrote about the Fremens' tradition of rendering the dead for their water, the dead don't need it any more.) And yet they have a good variety of food and books and clothing and furniture and chemicals and medicines and everything they need to continue living in their underground paradise. They don't steal it, as Mouse is frequently chastised by Father for doing. They live on the charity of helpers above ground, most of whom are poor.

In a way, Vincent's world is a socialist state. Everything is shared. Everyone works for the common good. Everyone underground depends on the working people above ground to give them everything they need to live and they provide nothing in return, except for sanctuary and housing for those who can no longer afford to live above ground. Unlike mushrooms, many of those who move underground do not flourish and return above ground to continue their poverty level subsistence. Like mushrooms, the people in Vincent's world -- as wonderful and generous and peaceful as they are -- are parasites. Yes, they build and expand their world, but they do it with the resources that come from the working poor -- and admittedly some very rich and powerful people with access to money and resources -- and really give nothing back, but an annual party called Winterfest. Each of their above ground helpers gets a candle all their own and a seat at the feast table and the underground dwellers share music and dancing with them. It must be enough or they wouldn't keep doing it -- would they?

The denizens of Vincent's underground world have fled society's ills and created a perfect world where envy and hatred and prejudice and intolerance no longer exist, a world that cannot exist without help from the very society they have fled. Instead of finding some mountain fastness or barren land to make bloom, they moved underground and accept charity. It's not really charity though. Vincent's world, as beautiful and peaceful as it is, is a feudal society and they the feudal lords taking the first fruits and a cut of the earnings and resources of those who live a much less idyllic life, many living in abandoned buildings or cold water flats in crumbling buildings ever on the verge of being knocked down to make room for high rise apartment buildings and marble edifices for big business. In the meantime, the denizens below NYC's streets are free to pursue their dreams and passions: music, art, technology, philosophy, literature, etc. At least Paracelsus, evil as he was, mined the caverns for gold and grew hallucinogenic mushrooms with addictive qualities to satisfy the most determined drug addict to make money. At least he made a product and sold it for what the market would bear like any good capitalist. He was productive.

In the end, it makes me wonder who was evil: Paracelsus because he created and sold addictive drugs while supporting himself and his followers without outside help or Father who lived off the generosity and tribute of their helpers. At first glance, I'd say Paracelsus was evil because he sold addictive drugs, but then again his customers bought his product of their own free choice and Paracelsus never claimed the drugs were without their dangerous side effects.

Okay, that's a very simplistic comparison. Of course, Paracelsus was evil for providing dangerous pharmaceuticals and preying on the poor weak souls who sought escape in oblivion, but is he any less wrong than Father who lives off tribute from his helpers? Sometimes the lines between good and evil are difficult to define and nearly impossible to see. A smile and a bit of literature or poetry or philosophy are not fair payment for tribute from people who have barely enough for themselves.

That is all. Disperse.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A new kind of book club

An author contacted me, as many do, to review her book. I have cut way back on reviewing books for free since I am working more on my own books and get a constant stream of books from my boss at Authorlink (for which I am handsomely paid). She said that she understood people couldn't afford a hardback book in these difficult financial times and would be happy if libraries bought the book and they borrowed it from the library. I understand this kind of thinking and it's very unselfish, but it's not realistic.

As nice as it would be for authors to be able to afford to keep writing without having a full time or part time job or full and part time jobs, it doesn't work that way. If people really want something, they will find a way to get it. And here comes my idea.

There are groups that club together to buy and read a book to discuss, so why not groups willing to pool their money to buy a few copies of hardback books they can share out? A group of five or ten women could easily afford two or three hardback books by giving up that morning donut, thus saving their waistline and putting more books into the public eye. It might even catch on, spawning book sharing clubs all over the country that would have the effect of getting the book more attention and putting a few dollars into the hard working author's pocket.

How about it? What do the rest of you writers think?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A woman speaks...

...and we should all pay attention because she was making sense before the election. This should have been more widely circulated and it should continue to be circulated every time we step into the voting booth.

Publication Date: 10/21/08

Each presidential candidate is giving his rendition of the changes he wants for America.

Here are a few that I believe all Americans want.

# Limit Congress from serving more than two terms. That is all that presidents are allowed.

# Stop Congress from voting for their own raises. How did that ever get started?

# Stop paying for lawmakers' high-priced insurance premiums. After all, they are only part-time employees. They might pass some law changes on the insurance companies, if they had to find one.

# Stop paying lawmakers their full salary after serving just one term, or at retirement. We need to get rid of that pension plan; they've let other companies get rid of theirs. You were lucky to get 40 to 50 percent of your salary after working somewhere for 35 years, but they get 100 percent.

# Make Congress pay into the Social Security system. They make laws for it. If they spent some of their own money, they might be interested in making it solvent.

# Stop handing out aid to illegal aliens. If we did, then Medicaid and the food stamp program would have enough money to aid the aged and the poor.

# Secure our borders.

# Stop allowing babies born to illegal aliens in the United States automatic U.S. citizenship.

# Stop the abuse of our benevolent welfare system. We feed children free meals three times a day until they are 17. Churches give away good, clean clothes. Companies buy and donate school supplies. Emergency rooms provide health care at taxpayer expense and the food stamp program is buying food at home. What are parents doing for their children?

# Have a computer program that cross checks Social Security numbers with fingerprints to stop fraud on many fronts. Use it on voter registration, too.

# Stop bailing out mortgage companies and banks that give loans to people who cannot afford them.

# Stop companies from paying CEOs and other executives outrageous salaries and bonuses while doing away with workers' pensions.

# Stop all unnecessary spending so we will have the money for our nation's security, and to help needy and elderly Americans.

# Stop permitting anyone to have a photo with their face covered on driver's licenses.

Whoever wins the presidency will not be able to make these changes.

Only members of Congress can do this, as they are the lawmakers.

I don't believe Congress is interested in changing anything, do you?

Norma White of Amarillo is a retired network engineer for Southwestern Bell.

That is all. Disperse.