Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Blood Bath

The mechanics of U.S. democracy can be painful to watch and are not always understood by other countries or even our own citizenry. This is especially true of late. When civility and truthfulness are abandoned, democracy can quickly degrade into a vulgar, stupid contest between the shrillest voices. Lies, racism, character assassination, the corruption of hidden campaign funding by special interest groups, voter fraud--these things divide us into opposing camps.  Our dialog becomes a battle of the haves and the have-nots, white vs. color, old vs. young, citizens vs. immigrants. We who are caught in the middle are exhausted by the 24/7 posturing of our politicians, who claim to represent our interests, and the vapid yackety-yack of political pundits who manufacture news instead of report it. We want everyone to shut up and life to return to normal. We want a little bit of security, jobs, health care, and a roof over our heads. We don't think it's asking for too much in such a bountiful country. And we don't want our democracy to be called a blood bath as some victorious Republicans cheerfully refer to it.

The Democratic Party suffered a disappointing setback in the mid-term elections throughout the country, mostly due to the corrosive attacks of Republicans who chose to insight fear and anger in these difficult times rather than working on real solutions. They have made it abundantly clear that they want to destroy Barack Obama and his administration, just as they tried to do when Bill Clinton was president. They always talk of destroying things, obstructing things, never building.

Blame can be laid to the Democrats also. They tend to be a disorganized lot--making them pull together as one unified force is like trying to herd cats. Democrats also failed to clearly communicate the facts or their goals and accomplishments. They assumed that despite all the distracting din around them, that these things would be self-evident.

I remember the Civil Rights movement, Vietnam, Watergate, and how much energy it takes for the righteous to prevail. There is always somebody who wants to take your life away. Despite my cynicism, when I look on this bleak landscape, our current wars and economic woes, I still believe that honest patriots will rise to the occasion and defeat all that is vile and corrupt in our country.  

California stands as an example of what can be good in this country. A candidate who spent an obscene amount of money to buy herself the governorship lost to a man who had the wisdom to bide his time and conserve his meager resources until the right moment. The minority groups and young people that no one expected to hear from made their voices heard at the polls and they made the difference. It's a hopeful beginning. Perhaps California will lead the way.

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