A taking stock and looking forward

Hi there. My name is Warren Bluhm. By day I am editor and one of a handful of reporters for a small family of community newspapers. When away from that task, I have written and published four books of fiction and six collections of short essays from my blog, and I have published nine editions of vintage works — some familiar, some not so much — that deserve to be remembered and preserved. I’m not done yet, either.

I produced 80 episodes of a podcast called Uncle Warren’s Attic, 150 episodes of a podcast called Ikthuscast, and 13 episodes of a podcast called Uncle Warren’s 78 Revolutions Per Minute. My first foray into podcasting was a serialized reading of my first novel, The Imaginary Bomb. I bought a new microphone with plans to podcast again, but years have passed since I did so.

I like old stuff, stuff that’s even older than the great stuff that was new when I was a kid, like the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man comic books and the original Star Trek. I have boxes and boxes of 78 rpm records, shelves and shelves of LPs and books, and other relics of olden times. If you made me list my all-time favorite recordings, “Frenesi” by Artie Shaw, “Sing Sing Sing” by Benny Goodman, and “Powerhouse” by Raymond Scott would be on the list.

I like independence and independent stuff. Ikthuscast was packed with songs created by Christian musicians who eschewed the gatekeepers and release their work on independent platforms. I publish my work independently rather than slog my way through the traditional process that can take years before a book sees the light of day, if ever.

This is a time I tend to take stock every year, the anniversary of my first day as a full-time adult, the day after college graduation, when I assumed total responsibility for feeding myself, lo, these 47 years ago (actually it was May 19, 1975, FWIW).

After all that time, some days I’m tired, if I’m honest. Most days, though, I remember how much fun it has been to do what I do, and I appreciate my companions along the way, especially the big-hearted woman who shares a house, two golden retrievers and a cat with me. I hope and pray our remaining time is full of love and peace and adventure.

I think about peace and wonder why some folks are hell-bent on killing people and blowing up things. My mother’s favorite president, Dwight Eisenhower, said a number of wise things in his farewell address, the wisest being, “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” The extent to which we have let down that guard is discouraging, to be sure.

Still, I can’t help but believe, against all odds, that it’s going to be all right in the end. Our history is a slow but steady march toward unfurling fists and reaching out our hands in friendship, a meandering walk away from resolving our differences with weapons and toward nonviolent solutions, a growing abhorrence of war and embracing peace. Too many war mongers hold onto their sabers and rattle them into the night as they cling to power, but their numbers are dwindling.

Maybe I’m overly optimistic because it’s a sunny spring day and the world outside my window is dominated at last by the color green, after too many cold months of brown and white. Maybe I’m overly content because there’s a 10-month-old puppy at my feet, convalescing from her spay surgery of two days ago and healing nicely so far. But I’m optimistic and content, so you’ll just have to deal.

Where do we go from here? What happens next? We always have some idea, but there are always surprises. That’s what keeps life interesting.

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