’Tis the season

This week’s oh-so-interesting social media meme shows the king and his adviser looking over the huge crowd who are armed with torches and pitchforks and want his head.

The adviser comments to the king, “It’s easy, sire. All you have to do is convince the torch people that the pitchfork people want to take their torches.” And, of course, if the torch people are coming for our pitchforks, all’s the better.

And there you have the essence of political advertising in the midst of another brutal election campaign: One side wants to take away my Social Security and everything else I own, and the other side wants to take away my ability to defend myself and, well, everything else I own.

Or, as H.L. Mencken said and I quote for the umpteenth time, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

Just in time for Halloween, the hobgoblins are out in full force. Will the torch and pitchfork people ever realize that their real enemies are standing together on the balcony?

Journal entry after exiling social media

Anyhow, here we are. 4:50 p.m. Calm water over there, evergreen woods behind me, picnic table in front. And, as often happens when I try to write, I’m tired (because usually I’m writing in this thing around 4:50 a.m.).

I neutered my iPhone the other day, in hopes of clearing enough space to enable a software update. I’d ignored “out of storage” messages for a week or more until I couldn’t take a photo or make an audio recording, both of which are handy for my work.

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9 Facts that prove Aliens have infested the Federal Government

Illustration © Andrianocz – Dreamstime.com

It’s not so hard to believe, given everything going on in Washington, D.C., these days, that there are as many as nine facts that prove aliens from beyond space have infested the federal government.

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Look to your zest

The last few days I have been rediscovering one of the basic truths every writer needs to know, remember and occasionally rediscover: Writing is fun. If it’s never fun, why the heck are you trying to write? It would be like a baseball player hating baseball. Remember it’s a game and you’re home free all.

This is the money quote from Ray Bradbury’s “The Joy of Writing,” the opening chapter of his Zen in the Art of Writing, which should be on the reading list of every Writing 101 course everywhere.

“… if I were asked to name the most important items in a writer’s make-up, the things that shape his material and rush him along the road to where he wants to go, I could only warn him to look to his zest, see to his gusto … the first thing a writer should be is — excited.”

I have a new sign at eye level at my writing station. It says “Look to your ZEST! See to your GUSTO!” It is to remind me that I love writing and that if I’m not having fun, I’m not paying attention.

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