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.

Monday, July 15, 2013

In a Nutshell: How Trayvon Martin Impacts My Life

Last week we finished updates to our home--replacing garage doors and exterior lights as well as repainting the exterior of the house. Next project is hardscape which means removing the worn out driveway, sidewalk, and patio and coming up with a livable design that is easy to maintain. Along with all of this, I have been working on book marketing. Let me say, I'd rather tear down my whole house and start from scratch than market a book, but that's me, I guess.

So in the midst of all the day-to-day trivia, the George Zimmerman / Trayvon Martin case has dominated the news here in the United States. The case was a real eye-opener in terms of insight into my own circle of family and friends on the subjects of gun violence and racism. It ain't pretty. On the one extreme, I have family members who cheer the verdict of Not Guilty because the victim was black, the President is black, and the world around them is changing in ways they cannot comprehend. They love their guns. They are too afraid to live without them. To hear them talk, we are living in the lawlessness of the Wild West of yore and on the verge of Armageddon. One family member has made his house an impenetrable fortress with security cameras. He packs a concealed weapon wherever he goes and a gun is always next to the bed.

As for myself, I represent the other extreme. I don't think anyone should be shooting a teenager who is armed with only a bag of Skittles and a bottle of ice tea. I am ashamed of the disgusting jokes certain family members have made about Skittles since the Not Guilty verdict came through. I do not believe a black boy wearing a hoodie is thinking about robbery any more than a white boy wearing a hoodie. I think if Martin had been white, George Zimmerman probably would have never questioned his presence in the neighborhood. My question to George Zimmerman would be: if you truly were in fear for your life, why didn't you make the decision to wound rather than kill? Why couldn't you shoot him in the arm or leg? You had to put a bullet in his heart? Here's the thing about cowardly people--they are far more likely to shoot to kill because their ability to reason is clouded by fear. When I was a child my father used to raise hunting dogs. One lesson I learned from him was that although you need to beware of an aggressive dog, a timid dog is far more likely to bite because they are fearful. That rule kind of applies to humans. I suspect Mr. Zimmerman was probably a coward, but a gun in the hand gave him power--the power to take another human's life. Now his attorney says Zimmerman wants his gun back because he fears for his life. I think he made some very bad decisions based on fear and false machismo and for the rest of his life he will have to live with the fact that he took a life when he didn't have to.

In the vast middle of all this discussion, are all those who prefer to remain silent. They don't want to be attacked as racists or liberals. They don't want to deal with the heat. To them, I can only say that this country has had a long history of racism accompanied by an addiction to guns. It makes me sad that people are incapable of a reasonable conversation about things that need to be fixed in this country. Maybe you middle-of-the-road guys could bring a little common sense to the discussion. Speak up.

1 comment:

  1. The Daily Show has a very good analysis of this whole bizarre situation.