My Work

Monday, October 8, 2012

Come on Wind

Ever get yourself all in a twit and simply want to break out and do something, no matter what?  That was how I found myself one day recently.  All the political ads on TV were driving me crazy, too many commentators making too many comments, all the good guys making fools of themselves, all the bad guys saying all the wrong things, and then on top of all that, the wind was howling outside.

I searched my book shelves and magazine racks and the only thing I could find that I hadn’t already read was “War and Peace,” and I wasn’t about to tackle that monster.  I went outside to check on the kids, the horses were just as put off as I because of the wind, the goat was munching on something, and the chickens were hiding out.  The twit was getting serious, the wind was getting stronger, and the friendly neighborhood bar wasn’t open yet.

I stomped around the house, through the kitchen, the bedroom, the living room and found myself in the office, sitting at my desk.  OK, I thought, that’s about enough, and I started writing, a sure cure for my twits.  Wind, animals, wind, disruption, came together in a set or words that I ended up calling “Growing Cows Out of the Wind.”  I spent hours tweaking the little story, playing with it, and hours turned to days, and the story came together about a week later.

I always let Patty read my stuff, not as an editor might, but as one who enjoys reading.  I don’t write from a “literary” viewpoint, by any stretch, certainly not from the point of view taught in creative writing classes today, simply won’t.  My heroes are Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens and their ilk.  Annie Proulx is out of her mind and fun to read, and Hemmingway can teach brevity word by word.  And, levity is a key word in most of my stories.

Patty read the final rewrite of growing cows and said it was funny and she liked it, and I made sure all the letters that needed dotting were dotted and all the letters that needed capping were capped, and sent it off to Epiphany, the magazine that just published my short story “Moonbeam.”  Lo and Behold (I always wanted to say that), I got an email from the editor this morning, and they are going to publish “Growing Cows Out of the Wind” in their next edition.

So, as I’m sitting here this morning, the sun is shining, I have RFD TV on, so there are no politicians yelling obscenities, no commentators commenting, and no wind blowing, the horses are frisky, the goat is eating, and the chickens are running around with their heads in place, the only thing left for me to do is write this little tome for you.  So far this year, I’ve had eleven short stories either published or accepted for publication.  The best year of my writing career.  Come on wind, come on politicos, come on commenta    no not them, but all the others.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Politics 101

I’ve done everything possible to keep base politics out of this blog, but something interesting is taking place in this election cycle that I think needs a little closer look.  First and foremost, the concept of courtesy and respect have gone out the window.  When I first got into the journalism racket, that was prehistoric times, 1958 to be exact, respect for one’s office was required.  In an article on President Eisenhower, he would always be noted as Mr. Eisenhower or President Eisenhower, senators would be senators, congressmen would be representatives or congressmen.

I hear reporters talking about Obama this and Obama that.  We may disagree with the man’s philosophies in every respect, but he is the president and that office demands a level of respect.  The protocol is simple:  The person will be referred to by the highest office he or she has attained, thus Governor Romney, President Obama, Representative Ryan.

I have found it fascinating how people react to their own personal politics.  Most readers of this blog are aware that I tend toward a libertarian view with strong fiscal conservatism, and I still wish that Representative Ron Paul was the Republican nominee, but here is what fascinates me most.  Libertarians stand with pride calling themselves libertarians.  Conservatives shout it out, loud and clear, “Look at me, I am a conservative.”  But those of a liberal bent shy away from the label.  “Oh, no, I’m more of a centrist,” is what we hear over and over.  Or, they use little key words like ‘progressive.’

Our president calls himself a centrist and then calls for a new world order, looks to change the first amendment, and simply won’t use the word liberal.  President Obama is as much a liberal as Representative Paul Ryan is a conservative, but won’t come out and say so.  At the same time, those that shy from calling themselves liberals will call a conservative horrible names and then take offense at being called a liberal.

In every political philosophy there are of course extremes, and in this election, no one can get away with trying to call themselves centrist, with the economic question and international relations getting the most attention.  Big spending or tight belts?  Speak softly and carry a big stick or give in to bullies?  Naive?  Maybe, but those two questions delineate this election, the liberal end far to the left and the conservative end far to the right.

See you at the polls.  In the meantime, read good books and stay regular.