Welcome to whatever is on my mind!

Some people use the term "nonsense" but I prefer to use the phrase "uncommonly sensed" because it's more reflective of creative types.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why I'm Not Voting For Trump

I don’t usually voice political opinions for two reasons:

1. As a writer, I know that there are always at least three sides to every story and there are as many interpretations of current events as there are people. Most of us tend to vote for the individual we think will make life better for us personally. And since I’m not you, I have no idea how to tell you to vote.
2. I don’t believe either political party has the answer - they only have alliances (often of the corporate and unsavory kind).

However, today I’m going to break my rule of avoiding politics, and while I won’t say who I’ll be voting for I’ll explain why I don’t think that Donald Trump is the answer to what’s ailing America right now.

My first reason:
The idea that someone who’s successfully run a business can fix the problems we’re having with government is a fallacy.
I’m not sure where this idea originated, and I’ve heard it for years. There seems to be a prevalent idea that someone who’s been successful in business must also have the best sort of expertise to run the government effectively. This logic is not new, but I don’t know if anyone has ever taken a look at the underlying assumptions. I'll address three of these underlying assumptions in this post, but there are more.

1. Success is a stable track record that will generalize into a new field
People who are successful in business aren’t always successful. In fact, most of these individuals have also failed a number of times. The smart ones protect themselves so that when the business goes under they don’t go personally bankrupt - which is what Trump has managed to do each time one of his enterprises collapsed. Governments, however, don’t have the same sort of luxury, unless the officials take risks and the taxpayers foot the bill when those risks don’t pay off (sort of like Congress has been doing for years …).

2. Government is just another form of a business
While some of the components are similar, business and government have different goals. The purpose of a business is to make money. The purpose of government, on the other hand, is embedded within the name: it’s to govern. There are no investors to repay or stock prices to maintain. Ideally, citizens should be taxed only enough to run the necessary programs and services and ensure that those programs continue.

3. A CEO knows how to get things done in any situation
Because these two institutions have different goals, the rules made within businesses are very different from laws made by governments. In a business all employees are not considered equal, and your value is determined by how much the organization stands to gain financially from your job performance. In other words, equality is not guaranteed in a business setting.
I don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of time on this point, but a government is not simply another form of business: it’s public service and in a democracy it’s built on the concept of being “by the people, for the people.” It’s not a profit center.

Enough seriousness for one day.
I’ll leave you with something to make you laugh:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

20 Quotes About Writing

I collect quotes. I have notebooks filled with them. So I dug through the secret place in my sock drawer where I keep all these quote-filled notebooks and dug up a list of 20 about writing and ficiton. Here they are.

“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.”
~ Meg Cabot

The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.”
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
~ Jack London

“I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
~ Harper Lee

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
~ Sylvia Plath

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
~ Samuel Johnson

“Write while the heat is in you. … The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.”
~ Robert Frost

“Keep a small can of WD-40 on your desk~away from any open flames~to remind yourself that if you don’t write daily, you will get rusty.”
~George Singleton

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”
~ Oscar Wilde

“Cheat your landlord if you can and must, but do not try to shortchange the Muse. It cannot be done. You can’t fake quality any more than you can fake a good meal.”
~ William S. Burroughs

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
~ Ray Bradbury

“You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page. Writing comes from reading, and reading is the finest teacher of how to write.”
~ Annie Proulx

“Writing is like sex. First you do it for love, then you do it for your friends, and then you do it for money.”
~ Virginia Woolf

“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
~ Kurt Vonnegut

“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
~ Louis L’Amour

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of. ”
~ Joss Whedon

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
~Ernest Hemingway

“If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster.”
~ Isaac Asimov

“That's what fiction is for. It's for getting at the truth when the truth isn't sufficient for the truth.”
~ Tim O’Brien

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Value Of Life

Let’s assume that you’re in perfect health (no physical imitations, no terminal illnesses, and have the prospect of living another very full 50 years. If someone offered to pay you for those 50 years, would you take the money?

It sounds crazy, and yet many of us are doing this without the knowledge that we’re doing it. Pause for a moment and think about how you make decisions. What criteria do you use?

More of us have shifted to an economic evaluation of most things. We decide how much something is worth based on the monetary consequences. For example, many of us decide which job to take based on the salary or $ per hour we’ll be paid. Some of us even choose careers based on how much money we can earn in a given field. We may even decide how to use our free time based on financial ROI (where to volunteer, what social activities to engage in, etc).

The fact is that most of us make life decisions based on how the outcome will benefit us economically.  Yes, it may be a valid criteria for making a decision but it’s not the only one and certainly not the most important one. But what else is there?

Money is easy to quantify, but that doesn’t make it more valuable. For example, what’s the cost of a sunrise? Seeing your child smile for the first time? The sound of a loved one’s laughter? The peace you get from knowing you did the right thing? Learning you’re stronger than you thought you were? Cuddling up with a pet? Experiencing a work of art? The thrill of accomplishment? There's a lot of value in building relationships, developing character, finding understanding, and connecting with the world around us (just to name a few things). These things are more difficult to quantify, but that doesn't make them less important.

Life is too valuable to be quantified with money. Your legacy is not how much you were worth financially in this life, but what you did with your friends and relationships, your time, and yourself.
“Those who know the exact price of things, as Judas did, often don’t know the true cost or value of anything.” ~ Kathleen Norris