KingMidget's Ramblings

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A Moment

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This is from this past weekend’s short backpacking trip.  That little ray of light was not visible to the naked eye.  It only showed up in the picture.  There’s something about this picture … got any ideas?

A Moment

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I went on a short backpacking trip this weekend.  Up to Pollock Pines and then 29 miles into the mountains to park at Loon Lake.  Where my companions and I set off for a five mile hike to Buck Island Lake.  I learned a few things.  I can hike five miles up and down ridges and mountains with a backpack on and make it.  But just barely.  My old groin tear has caused significant weakness in my right leg.  If I want to continue doing these types of things I can no longer ignore it.  I need to do something about it.

I also learned that in a place that didn’t seem primed for a great sunset picture (the sun went behind the mountain ridge far too early and there were no clouds) some times if you just wait long enough.  It’s simple, it’s dark, but this may just be my new favorite.  I took it with my phone suddenly, when I looked out over the lakes surface and saw the little bit of glow at the horizon and thought “Maybe.”  Now, I think, “Most definitely.”

A Song For The Day

A fellow blogger has invited writers and bloggers to contribute to a 90s nostalgia-themed effort.  While he’s open to just about anything, one of the elements he’d like to see are nostalgic pieces about Nirvana.   I told him that I was more of a Pearl Jam fan and had never really got into Nirvana.  A comment discussion ensued and, as a result, I spent much of today listening to Pearl Jam’s first album.  One of the 26 albums that are on my top 5 albums of all time list.

 

Thinks I’ve Been Thinking #3

I’ve wallowed enough in my fiction-writing world.

It’s time to do something about it.

I’m going to publish Northville Five & Dime.

A couple of years ago I wrote a short story that was a couple thousand words.  I thought it was done and there was nothing more to it.  A little blip of a story that arrived in my head based on a writing prompt I saw on another blog.  Write a story about a shoplifter who is caught but offered a deal to avoid arrest. I came up with an idea and wrote that little blip of a thing.

Then I went to the Mendocino Coast Writer’s Conference and participated with a group of writers in a three session critique of our mutual writing efforts.  I submitted that little blip of a story for review.  The feedback was positive and suggested there was much more story to tell.  So I went back to my laptop and wrote.  A 30,000 word novella was the result.

I went it out to a few beta readers.  They spoke positively of it.  I asked the QueenMidget and one of the Princely Midgets to read it.  It was the Princely one who motivated me to do more.  He read the thing in one evening.  Yes, 30,000 words all at once.  And expressed his frustration that the story wasn’t complete.

So, I embarked on Novella #2 in what I decided would be a three part novella series that followed the characters introduced in Novella #1 through a couple more years of their lives.

And about 2/3 of the way through #2 I got bogged down as these things seem to go.  I’ve sat on it for quite some time now.

I can tell you that there are two people who have the greatest responsibility for getting me off my ass, to stop my wallowing, and start doing something with my writing again.  The first is S.K. Nicholls, who is moving forward with publishing the first in what I hope will be a series of Florida crime thrillers. The second is Kevin Brennan who has independently published some of what I think is the best writing you can find in the indie publishing world.  His most recent effort is #guerrillapublishing — an effort to sell directly to his readers.  An idea I have had for the last couple of years and am still toying with.

Susan and Kevin inspire and motivate me.  To not give up and keep trying this.  Keep moving forward and putting stuff out there.

Northville Five & Dime is the best option for me to do so at this point.  I sent it to Kevin for editing.  He provided me with great feedback.  Now I need to address his feedback, complete the final draft of novella #1 and then crack open #2 again and see if I can get it done.  And then move on to the final chapter of the story of Lily, Sophie, and Pete.

More to come.  More to come.

And thank you, Susan and Kevin, for your inspiration.

Thinks I’ve Been Thinking #2

When Hillary Clinton came out with her “basket of deplorable” comment about Trump’s supporters, I was disgusted.  It would seem that smart politicians might have learned at some point over the years they have been in the running for office mode that one of the things you don’t do is attack the supporters of your opponent.  Attack the opponent with full force.  But never go after the supporters.  And Hillary did just that.  Did I mention that I was disgusted?

I have some political blogs I follow.  One that is very conservative — PowerLine — and several that are pretty liberal — DailyKos, Talking Points Memo, and Kevin Drum’s blog at Mother Jones.  When PowerLine posted something about Hillary’s basket of deplorables, I commented that I was frustrated by her statement.  It seemed remarkably stupid and I compared it to Romney’s 47% moment.  And when Kevin Drum posted something about it, I commented there as well.  That I thought it was stupid and it would be used against Clinton.

On both blogs, a number of people responded.  Over at PowerLine, the end result was a commenter refusing to believe I am not a supporter of Clinton.  No matter how many times I have commented on that blog that I will not be voting for her.  To paraphrase this commenter — I know you say you will not vote for her, but I suspect that you support her. It was something like that.  Meanwhile over at Kevin Drum’s corner of the internet, all sorts of liberals attacked me, including one who accused me of being a right-wing nut job.  And when I told him he was wrong and cited my lifelong history of voting for Democrats, he refused to believe me.

Meanwhile, I’ve been following a WordPress blogger who regularly writes politically-motivated rants.  He wrote a post about the whole Colin Kaepernick kerfluffle.  The interesting thing about his post is that the original headline was a little more expansive.  Basically, his position was that anybody who disagrees with Kaepernick should “sit down and shut up.”  I commented there.  You can see the thread for yourself.  What you won’t see, however, is the final series of comments because he eventually blocked me from continuing to comment.

Which tells me this.  The blogger in question isn’t interested in any kind of discussion or debate on the issues.  He’s only interested in a fan club.  In people who will cheer him on.  Although, in the comments you won’t see, I criticized him for the original title of his post and suggested that suggesting that people who disagreed with Kaepernick should sit down and shut up pretty much made him no better than the people he was criticizing.

The point of this.

I need to step away from these things.  I’m getting too frustrated.  Too annoyed.  Too incapable of keeping a rational mind about where all of this is headed.  Go back and look at my Thinks I’m Thinking #1.  Much like the Israelis and Palestinians, we are becoming a country that is divided into two.  Two groups that have different histories, different narratives, different facts.  And no willingness to find common ground.  No willingness to bridge the divide.  No, dammit, it’s my facts, my narratives, my history, and you just need to shut up if you are not 100% in line with what I think and what I believe.

It’s depressing when you stop and look at these things.  All of the noise is being made, all of the discussion is being driven by absolutists.  While those in the middle who just want problems addressed and opportunities for us and those we love are pushed further and further into the background.

I need to stop opening myself to this frustration.  Over the last week, as I’ve read PowerLine every day, there have been posts I’ve wanted to comment on.  I have gone so far as to start drafting the comment.  And then I have cancelled the comment and moved on.  Next step is to not read PowerLine at all.  And to do the same with the liberal blogs.  Where is my hermit shack when I need it?

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