Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Do-good Moment, A Lifetime Effect

I wrote a letter to the President when I was a little man-in-training--a letter that never left home. That undelivered letter called for peace, for cheaper gas prices--because the grown folks complained constantly about gas prices--and for better funding to schools and libraries. Why didn't I send that letter? I thought that no one in Washington, DC, would care about a little boy's thoughts.

Fast-forward a couple of decades, and Li'l New Boy is A New Man. The funny thing is that I could write that very letter today just as easily--and with the same relevance. I wonder if that letter could have been a catalyst for a shift in the way politicians do business with tax receipts and federal budgets. Small gestures can create huge change not unlike pebbles cast in ponds, slicing ripples in the current, dicing movement through stillness. Mahatma Gandhi once said that we "must be the change [we] want to see in the world." Good advice, I believe.

Know what's great about doing something good? The ripple effect can affect much more than hope inspired. A little lady refused to give up her seat on a bus once, and the ripple effect of that single action--the unplanned side effect--is that young men and women of every background have a legitimate and lawful claim for equal rights and protection of those rights in a litany of unrelated yet equally important causes and concerns.

Little things still mean something special.

So...what's good? Think on it, and try what comes to heart. It just might make your day go a little better.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Musical Present for Real Music Lovers

Good morning, and welcome to good music. Enjoy a little concert from Eric Roberson & The Smoke Signals. Who says Monday has to be a bad day?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For My Writers: The Truth Hurts--Until It Heals

Scott Berkun toppled a much-abused lie that I have told myself more than once in my time, a lie that cripples the hopes of many would-be writers and scholars on this planet--writer's block. In case you've never read his blog, enjoy this quick blessing:
I promise you, the first draft of Strunk and White didn’t follow Strunk and White. The secret, if you can’t start, is to begin without constraints. Deliberately write badly, but write.

For this reason writer’s block is a sham. Anyone who wrote yesterday can write today, it’s just a question of if they can do it to their own satisfaction. It’s not the fear of writing that blocks people, it’s fear of not writing well; something quite different. Certainly every writer has moments of paralysis, but the way out is to properly frame what’s going on, and writer’s block, as commonly misunderstood, is a red herring.

Simple and razor-sharp, isn't it? Let every dreamer who feels fearful when the pen or pencil tip touches paper or when the cursor blinks longingly from the computer screen drop his or her fear in the nearest wastebasket--and WRITE.

Get to it! Time's a-wastin'!

**Image courtesy of JPG Photography

Saturday, September 13, 2008

This Is NOT My Cat!

But she would do this...

Shout out to Chaos Harris aka My Little Spastic Girl...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008

How Can I Forget...If I Remember?

I remember waking on September 11, 2001, to a phone call and the thought that my television was playing the oddest disaster film in the history of American film. Wait-- the "film" sported the CNN logo.

A nightmare tapped my shoulder and informed me that he and I would be too close for comfort for many moons to come.

The phone call made the nightmare giggle. My then-wife, who will forever bear the symbol "*"--the same figure that statisticians place beside questionable listed records...and for good reason, spouted a full paragraph in one long sentence:
Are you okay I thought you were dead since CNN said that your command was hit and I didn't know what to think and WHY didn't you answer the phone the first time--that's beside the point--how are you?
She always had a knack for a surprising wakeup.

I assured her in my "the insomniac just finished a night watch, mama" deep bass voice that I was alive and well. Did I hear disappointment? Mmmm...

I woke to the second jet's strike to a tower, and CNN faithfully replayed both towers' destruction over and over again for hours and hours and hours more. Friends lost family members in a 21st-century photo op; friends prayed that the bodies falling and leaping to a sharply vertical certain death were NOT their family members. Tears failed tired eyes, and depression held the well-oiled machine of naval military locked to a shuddering halt. Each sailor and soldier on that base knew that America would thirst vengeance, just as many of us did, and that we would be mobilized in one task or another to fight whatever threat dared to sucker-punch the US of A.

The threat was named Osama bin-Laden.

The threat was named Saddam Hussein.

The threat was named personal liberty in America.

The threat was named the Constitution of the United States of America.

The threat became my country's horribly-led political system. Seven years later, one threat is still in the wind, another is dead; one feels dead until I write, vote, and speak what I think; and the last is still digging its hooks into the parchment that declares the duties and lists the blood-guaranteed rights of Americans. Someone lied and played on our innate humanity to convince my countrymen and me that destroying an enemy requires destroying our humanity and our good sense. Sad.

Let's see how the next seven years play out. I hope that I see real change the next few years. If not, a passport is going to get a brand-new stamp...for good.

As the Panthers used to say, "Heads up, eyes open; fists clenched."

Image reference: