Crazy couple of years

So, a couple years ago, they told us we might have to spend a few weeks inside because someone in China ate soup with a bat in it. (Yes, I know the bat thing was bogus. We all know the damn virus was made in a lab). And yes, that is plausible, considering we are talking about a country that enjoys weaponizing stuff. If you don’t believe me, just ask yourself the last time you heard of a virus that makes your sense of taste go away. It might kill you, it probably won’t, but if it does it will be like drowning for a week or so.

So, we spent going on two years for some of us inside. Some of us drive around with masks when we are alone. All of us have been affected by some form of depression or anxiety by the process.

The USA is more polarized than ever. I won’t get into the discussion much, but let’s just say it was suspicious that the person who became POTUS, who even his own party was lukewarm about, won more votes than the most hyped President elect in history, who at the time had more voter turnout than anyone in history. Until his second banana won this election. Just sayin’.

Then people got arrested for meandering into the Capitol Building, after the cops let them in, and that was a bigger deal than when people burned down businesses in several cities. Canada experienced soft facism. Which is fitting for a country normally very polite.

Gasoline costs twice as much per gallon as it has for years. Food is expensive (when it’s on the store shelves).

Oh yeah, Russia invaded Ukraine.

It strikes me how strange it is to see a modern city like Kyiv with Toyota Priuses and freakin’ missiles sticking out of the ground. It’s not the view of war we’ve been given for the last 70 years. It’s surreal.

The amount of dumbass rednecks posting shit on social media about how they are warfighters and gon’ fight fer ‘Merica is fucking astounding. You aren’t the Wolverines. You aren’t Mad Max you piece of shit. You aren’t John Wick. You’re a fat, ignorant redneck who couldn’t pick Ukraine out on a map. Yeah yeah tough guy. That’s why you are stockpiling guns and ammunition. Fuck you. You’re gonna do the same thing you’ve always done about anything in life ever.

Not a goddamned thing.

“Back in Dubya Dubya THree, I fought on the front lines of the meme wars!”

Good for you. Fuckhead. What were you doing for the last couple of years? What have you ever done? Watched other people do all the heavy lifting. Spilled Natty Lite on yourself yelling at your ol’ lady because she didn’t have the house clean when you got home maybe. Told the kids to leave you alone because the game was on.

Not that I’m all that my damn self. But I’m not running around talking tough, beating my chest, and bragging about some bullshit. “Just let me at them Rooskies!” I’ve seen tough guys crumple like a folding chair so many times. It’s always fucking hilarious when they do too.

It’s not Call of Duty out there, Cap’n Warfighter. You don’t just get to duck and regenerate the arm someone shot off. At the end of the day you’re sleeping on the cold hard ground and you don’t just get to hit pause and get tucked into your snuggly-wuggly bed.

Meanwhile, there are civilians watching tanks roll into their towns. And the world just watches.

It’s been a crazy couple of years.

Odd Questions About Writing

So, with all the writing I have been doing lately, I am afraid to look at my wordcounts. They are arbitrary anyway and really only serve the purpose to myself that yes, I am writing. No, I’m not screwing around. I try not to be one of these people who go around telling people that they are writers, but only do so to serve the purpose of getting into a party with a bunch of cool kids.

Writers aren’t cool. They might look cool on the outside, but inside they aren’t. They think too much about things, and that isn’t cool. Cool people are dismissive, they know everything already. They don’t need to waste their time putting their thoughts to paper because hey, like, whatever man.

The other day I hit a snag. I was buying Legos with my kid and the girl at the cash register recognized me from the other times I had been there. She reminds me a little of myself at her age. She writes stories and even had a Lego character clipped to her name tag that was from one of her books. She writes Fantasy and told me that a bunch of other writers were in that day building characters for their books. When I told her (reminded, since she’s heard the same thing from me for the last year whenver I go in) that I write too, she asked what I wrote.

I told her I used to write steampunk and fantasy, but recently I was working on a literary piece based on life experiences, she glazed over. I remember that feeling too. I remember when I wrote fantasy that I often felt that my work wasn’t taken seriously. But on the other side of that now, I felt like I had tresspassed. Sorry, but I did my time in the genres. I will probably go back to it eventually. But here, I felt like an interloper. Not that it matters.

I remember being in that place years ago. Most people who consider themselves writers, especially if it is fan fiction or dreams of becoming the next Tolkien or GRRM or Robert Jordan don’t read anything any of their friends writes either. It’s a lot of conversations where you are just listening well enough to know when it’s your turn to talk. But oddly enough, I felt like I no longer had that authenticity because I’m not writing fantasy right now. Listen, I just do what the story tells me to do. Sometimes I don’t have a choice.

I expect to die young because the story will no longer have any need for me and it will finally let me expire. Thanks, story. I’m glad I didn’t sleep right and wrecked my health for years for you.

Anyway, I bring up the word counts because I am writing my guts out lately–even though it isn’t genre fiction–and I had a few questions that keep popping up in my head.

  1. How much do I actually need to tell?
  2. How much sex needs to go into the story before it is less War and Peace and more 50 Shades? I want to stop before it gets to Tropic of Cancer.
  3. If I write about topics that aren’t considered popular opinions in the mainstream, will that ruin my chances of being published?
  4. All these words and paragraphs and chapters…how many will I wind up shaving it down to anyway? Is that why it takes two weeks to read a book that took five years to write?
  5. If I write it well enough to get my car egged if I drive through my home town after it is published, is that a good sign or a bad one? Asking for a friend.
  6. If I sell in mainstream/literary fiction, will I be cast out of the Garden of Genre forever?
  7. If I piss people off with this and become friendless, is it okay if I cry myself to sleep on a pillow stuffed with one hundred dollar bills?

I promise not to think I’m cool if this book is published. I know I’m not cool. I’ve had 45 years of the world’s abuse to remind me of such things.

Political Poisoning: American Edition

Social media used to be a neat tool to connect with others. I have reaquainted myself with people I knew years and years ago, which was necessary as I put my life back together after my divorce. I spoke again with people I knew from Elementary School, I kept in touch with some great people from the old LiveJournal days, and even though most of us were very far away, we could still laugh and joke and carry on conversations in spite of this.

Lately, however, I have been like many of you, and because of the political climate I find that I am unable to maintain friendships with people who are so rabid about their beliefs. They live in an echo chamber where there is no such thing as objectivity. Either you are with them, or you are wrong.

I’ve unfriended and blocked many people because of this. People who were good friends, but that could not withstand the inculcation of party politics. I just couldn’t. And honestly, being a political centrist (if not Libertarian), I was no longer welcome in their circles.

I bowed out. In some cases, I blocked them permanently because of their compatriots who I felt were going to drag me across the coals in a full on doxxing.

I think about the Civil War and how they used to say “It was brother against brother!” I used to be unable to fathom how siblings could join a war and try to kill each other. Now, I don’t have to imagine it. The days of polite discourse are over. We are completely polarized these days. If you don’t agree with a Socialist agenda, you are a fascist. If you don’t have a MAGA hat and a Trumpersticker, you are a commie.

It makes me despair for what our country is becoming. How this kind of politically fueled hate is spilling out into the rest of the world too.

Much of the time all I want to do is get back to the days when we could agree that not everyone was going to agree on some things. Then we went back to focusing on the things that united us instead of divided us.

I’m not voting in the upcoming election. If you don’t like it, wonderful. I also think the masks are bullshit, but they are what everyone has clung to in order to make themselves feel like they have some kind of control over what is going on in the world. Just like voting.

Biden is a sick man. Way to go Democrats. You had 150 MILLION people to pick from and you dug out that old chestnut. This is my look of surprise when he announces Hilary Clinton as his running mate in a month. If he wins, imagine my look of surprise when he abdicates…I mean, yeah. Commits suicide.

Pedophiles abound in positions of power. Worldwide. Children are being trafficked every day and mysteriously anyone who “knows” what is going on keeps winding up dead. Puzzler. Bit of a puzzle. The solution of course is make child rape a hanging offense. And actually hang the fuckers. The Clintons are already off to a good lead on that, oddly enough.

If I had to sit at a table with Trump, I would probably punch him in the mouth. Which is why I’m confused why so many New Yorkers dislike him. He acts just like most of them. Rude. Uncouth. Entitled. Obnoxious. He seems like the kind of guy who would overflow your toilet and use your best towels to wipe his ass afterwards. Then send you the bill to have his pinky ring cleaned.

Antifa need to take their place among the pantheon of dangerous assholes who have no love for this country. Right there with the KKK, the Nation of Islam, the Aryan Nation, and every other extremist group who has a right to exist because of right to assembly and freedom of speech, but serve about as much purpose as diet pop at an all you can eat buffet.

Black Lives Matter is just a nice way for white people to put a brand name on their white guilt. It’s the same as putting a ribbon on your shirt. Or a bumper sticker on your Prius. You wanna be “woke?” Have a conversation with someone about how fucked everything is. You’ll see everyone has some common ground on why the deck is stacked against them. But the ones fucking us don’t want you to see that. They want us to blame each other.

Defund the police? No, defund the Legislation. They are the assholes making the laws that can be used seven ways to Sunday to jail people for no reason. Every year a bunch of lawyers get together and make more laws. How often do they repeal them? And the ones that are repealed, why the hell are prisoners still doing time for committing those crimes? Sure, a lot of cops go home and beat the shit out of their wives, but what do you expect when so many of them are juicing?

Confederate statues are convenient places for pigeons to shit. They are also a good indication of knowing geographically when you are in the woods and hear banjos, that you need to paddle faster. Remove those landmarks and the next time you hear a pig squeal, it might be you.

The best thing to come out of quarantine has been a lack of stupid summer blockbusters. Maybe we can begin to digest how little importance Hollywood actually carries in our lives. As if those fucking TikTok videos haven’t already convinced you.

China is not our friend. That is to say the Chinese Government. They aren’t China’s friend either, we aren’t that special to be the only ones they are actively trying to screw. Where’s all your “Free Tibet” shirts now?

Free healthcare? How about eliminate tort litigation where the majority of settlements go to paying lawyers on contengiency? That’s why your health insurance costs are so high and an Advil is $8. You’d probably see delivery of a baby drop back down to “I don’t need Medicaid to afford this” rates pretty quickly. You know what? I’m actually for the government paying for health care. Not health insurance. Get rid of that broken system. We should see something come out of our taxes rather than crumbling roads, bailouts for multibillion dollar companies, and subsidized agriculture that makes a pound of hamburger $6.

Eliminate the indentured servitude of the Student Loan Program. Period.

That’s enough fixing the world for one night. I wonder why my Liberal and Conservative friends no longer invite me to parties…