It’s Spring, Right?

I mean, it’s been Spring for, what? A month? For cryin’ out loud, as my mom always used to say! Do you realize what this means?

It means we’re getting closer to Summer! Why is that a big deal, you ask?

I shall tell you.

I live in a part of the country where warm weather is at a premium. We joke, at least those of us who aren’t actually crying about it, that Winter in Central New York lasts until July or so, and by the end of August it’s rolling around again. Ha ha ha!

It’s not really funny.

So, yes. Warm weather is coveted in my neck of the woods, as Al Roker (who once lived here) always used to say. (Actually, he still does, but I was maintaining the theme from paragraph one.)

But there’s another reason. (Cue the mysterious music).

It will be during the dog days of summer, as someone, I’m confident, always used to say, that Many Hidden Rooms, the second book in my fantasy series, The Tale of Cerah of Quadar, will be released.

I know there are… there are… what’s the term for when there’s practically no one? There are ONES of you out there who are waiting to see what happens next to Cerah, Slurr and their family and friends. Well as each day of Spring passes, we’re getting closer to learning their fate. Stay tuned, as every TV announcer in history always used to say, for updates as the release date draws nearer. I’ll be announcing the official release date as well as revealing the cover in the weeks to come.

Related News

 

computer

An Actual Image of My Actual Computer as I’m Actually Writing!

The third book in the series, which is as yet untitled, is progressing nicely. There have been a few late night writing sessions since we returned from North Carolina which have been quite productive, and I’m currently working on chapter seven. I’ll keep you posted on this as well.

 

Suffice it to say there will be new challenges to face, and new characters, (as well as all of your old favorites), facing them.

I can’t give you too much detail about Book 3 at this time, (said in Jon Lovitz’s pathological liar voice – you know, the “Yeah, that’s the ticket!” guy), without spoiling key events in Book 2, and we wouldn’t want that, now would we, (said in Mick Jagger’s voice as he’s discovered that he’s broken a button on his trousers on the live album “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out.” Do the research. You’ll thank me). And don’t try to enlarge the picture to read what’s on the screen, because I’ve included code which will format your hard drive if you do! (Not really, but it’s a pretty crappy picture anyway and I doubt you could make out a word of it!)

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So This Writer Goes On Vacation…

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. A writer goes on vacation and… no a real vacation. Not just three days vegetating on the couch watching 24 on DVD. I’m talking about an actual get-in-the-car-and-drive-somewhere-else vacation. So this writer goes on one and brings his laptop, because, hey! it’s a vacation and all, but there might be a chance to get some work done.

Let me tell you, people, it was an exercise in futility. I have no one to blame but myself for not getting much writing done while we were here, (yes I’m technically still here, though we’re heading home in the morning). I just got too much into vacation mode and didn’t allow myself to get into writing mode. There was one day when Kimmy and I were alone at the beach house when everyone went off to do exciting things. I actually sat down on three separate occasions and got some work done each time.

 

sunset

How am I supposed to write when the sun sets like this on my birthday?

coronaSo it wasn’t a total bust work-wise, but let’s be real. I’m about 950 miles from home, at the Outer Banks of North Carolina, in full view of the Atlantic Freakin’ Ocean (that’s its official name – look it up if you don’t believe me) AND on top of everything else, my birthday happens to fall on the last full day we’re here.

Let’s just say there were other activities that caught more of my attention than writing did.

But fear not. After tomorrow, which will be spent on the road, I’ll be back home and ready to knuckle down, put my nose to the grindstone, get my back into my living, and any other work related clichés you might have handy.

My Birthday Present

PART 1: Why We Celebrate

I was born on April 21, which is only a few days away, and this year, I want to give you a present to celebrate. So the folks at Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP if you like initials, and I have cooked up a little something.

ADC newWPYou see, we have something else to celebrate, besides just me getting another ring on my trunk. Thanks to the help of a good friend from my high school days, my novel, (perhaps I’ve mentioned it to you before?) entitled A Dark Clock or ADC if you like initials, has a spanking, new cover.

They tell you to never judge a book by its cover. They also tell you to throw salt over your shoulder should you spill any. When it comes to using the first of these adages as a metaphor, you know, the book represents a person, place or thing, and the cover represents its outward appearance, well I’m all in. Salt over the shoulder? Not a fan.

But when it comes to actual books and actual covers, the rule doesn’t really work. When someone goes to Amazon or B&N or iBooks to purchase a book, the first thing that they see is the cover, and I guarantee the book is being judged by it. Sorry wise old people from wise old people days. That’s just the way it is.

My high school friend, a woman named Carol, took this picture while on an early morning walk, which she took pains to tell me was not her normal routine, so if you live   in the great state of Washington, and you’re hoping to find her to autograph your copy of ADC, don’t go out early in the morning looking for her. You’re wasting your time.

Part 2: How We Celebrate

Back to your birthday present. Starting April 18, I’ll be running a Countdown Deal on Amazon. Which means that on the 18th you can buy a Kindle edition for $.99. On the 19th the price goes up to $1.99, then $2.99 on the 20th before returning to it’s full (but still ridiculously reasonable) price of $3.99 on the 21st.

Amazingly simple, really. Just hunt the book down on Amazon, starting on the evening of Tuesday the 19th, (I think it said beginning at 8 pm Pacific Time), and get you copy for peanuts before it rising to pistachios on Wednesday, the macadamias on Thursday and some top shelf nut I’m not familiar with on the 21st.

You can click here to do so.

And remember to sing Happy Birthday to me as you begin reading!

Living and Dying (By Reviews)

They say an author lives and dies by reviews. I don’t know if this is 100% true. I know several authors, some of whom have gotten less than favorable reviews (read: “out-and-out pannings”), yet they are still alive. At least they are still writing, so I’m going out on a limb and saying that their reviews have not killed them.

This post will share with you some of the review’s I’ve received, both for Welcome Home and for A Dark Clock. 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I readily confess there haven’t been that many reviews posted thus far. That fact leads us to the second purpose of the post, which we’ll get to in due time. Also, it should be noted that I have, to date, not received any reviews from people I do not know, at least through Facebook, which is probably why I haven’t received any scathing, soul-crushing entries thus far, and according to the adage, at least, why I am still drawing breath. Nothing to die by yet. Final disclosure: A Dark Clock has, thus far, only received one review.

These are all honest-to-Pete reviews, culled from the electronic pages of Amazon.com (motto: “If we don’t sell it now, we will by 4 p.m. and the drone will drop it in your lap in time to watch Lester Holt”), and I’ve included links for you to read the originals, lest you think I’m making all this up.

Select Reviews for Welcome Home: Short Fiction

Welcome Home“I love this book! The characters in each story are brought to true life by Mr. Varengo’s fluent and descriptive writing. Every one of the stories conveys a range of emotions that are powerful and heartfelt. The author’s humor is sometimes sharp and sometimes subtle, but always delightful. My only complaint is that the book came to an end. I highly recommend this book, and anxiously await future volumes.” – Nanette Stine

“Welcome Home is an excellent collection of short fiction by author Scott Varengo. The strongest story is “The Terror,” which centers around a boxer trying for his big break at the sacrifice of everything else in his life. “The Great Gazoo” is a whimsical tale populated with a cast of colorful characters (I can’t say more without giving away spoilers), and “The Hunters” is a great tale of friendship and forgiveness. I look forward to reading more from the talented Mr. Varengo!” – Erik Therme

“This book was fantastic. The first story really touched me and was written how people actually think and not an idealized inner monolog. Highly recommend.” – Dustin Pease (aka cool)

“A great debut! In the book description, Welcome Home promises to ‘leave the reader with a wide range of emotions.’ And does it ever deliver. The author demonstrates excellent ability to render characters that appeal to something deep inside a reader, causing them to become invested in the narrative and making them actually care what happens! I look forward to more offerings from this fine writer.” – Craig Hart

“Welcome Home is an enchanting and engrossing group of short stories that draws the reader into different worlds inhabited by diverse, captivating people. The author is a skilled and proficient writer who has the ability to subtly put the reader into the minds and the essence of his richly developed characters. The stories are overflowing with pathos and I found myself having a visceral reaction to the events as they unfolded. I was so deeply affected by several of the stories that I was compelled to read them several times to enable myself to absorb the beauty of the writing and the depth of the story. I hope that Mr. Varengo enriches us with more of his writing in the future.” – Jeff Goldstein

And for A Dark Clock

ADC newWP

“Dragon Riders of Pern meets The Earth Sea Chronicles with a little Madeleine L’Engle thrown in for good measure.

“Very readable yet with a depth that will sneak up on you. I have been enjoying this as part of my daily commute and have almost missed my station on several occasion. I feel like I have come to know Cerah and Slurr just as they have come to know each other, and accept the roles they will play in saving their world. My only complaint is that I have become so used to binge watching on Netflix and Amazon Prime that I hate the fact I have to wait for the next book. I expect great things to come.” – Eric Reiffenstein

 

That’s All, Folks!

To date, that is my scrapbook of reviews. Which brings us to that “second purpose” I alluded to above.

I may not actually live or die based upon reviews, but there is much more than vanity involved in having reviews posted on the selling portal. There are both quantitative and qualitative reasons why they are important.

Quantitatively, the more reviews a book receives on Amazon, the higher it will appear in searches, meaning it is more likely to be found, and if we extrapolate, more likely to be purchased, which I admit freely is a very big part of the reason I do this gig. I want people to read my work, and I want to make a little bread in the process. Call me, in the words of the Marxist yoga instructor, “A capitalist downward dog.”

Qualitatively, when someone does find the book, either on purpose or by some happy accident, they are likely to scan the reviews to see what other customers thought. Having some readers who were happy with the work post a review means future browser may take a chance on reading, and perhaps later reviewing, themselves.

So, I close with an appeal. If you have read either book and you can spare a few minutes, would you consider dropping by Amazon and writing a review of your own? I’m not soliciting praise, but rather honest opinions. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be worthy of the New York Times Book Review, it just needs to be your thoughts on my work.

And if you haven’t read them yet, why not click the “Purchase Books” link at the top of this page and start the process from there?

The Fine Art of Walking Away

I often wonder what folks who aren’t writers think about what writers do, how they create, what are the nuts and bolts of doing this as your main occupation. My friends who are writers probably aren’t going to hear anything that they don’t already know, and my friends who aren’t might find the aspect of the craft that I want to focus on today a little odd.

Or, far more likely, both groups are thinking, “Who the hell cares, man?”

If that’s the case you’ve probably already stopped reading, so I’m just going to fill the rest of this post with nasty rumors about you.

Just kidding.

I suppose the most common question that I (and probably every other writer on the planet) gets asked is “Where do you come up with your stories?” That’s a really great question!

No. I’m lying. It’s a really lame question. It’s almost unanswerable. A lot of writers give gallant attempts at intelligent responses, but in the end, they all boil down to variations on two themes.

  • I take inspiration from the world around me and my stories come from everything I see.
  • I make them up. They come from inside my head.

I suppose there’s a third option, which is an amalgam of the two, but again, that’s not what I’m looking to talk about today.

I want to talk about walking away from a story.

Sometimes, no matter how hard you work on an idea, no matter how much you love your characters, no matter how well your previous writing went, when you get into something new, or even, sometimes, when you deep into something that you’ve been working on for a while, you stumble. Your story seems to falter. Even if you’ve planned and diagrammed, and made character studies and outlines, there are times when you sit, staring at the words you’ve written, or often just an empty screen, and you say, “This really sucks.”

You feel as though you’ve somehow gotten off track. You feel as if continuing to write would just be a waste of time because nothing that you’re putting down is what you want to say. It’s garbage, and you know it.

Yet in many of those cases, you know that, at its core, your idea is sound, your story is good.  It may even be a book in a series that you’ve had considerable success with up to that point. You may not be able to discern what the problem is, but you know for certain there’s a problem.

For me, that is when it’s time to walk away. Click “save” and then click “close.”

And walk away.

I don’t mean stop writing. But I do mean stop writing that story. I’m writing this post about this subject, at this time, because it’s something I just had to do.

In February, I began writing the third book in my series of fantasy novels that I’ve called The Tale of Cerah of Quadar, which began with A Dark Clock, (now available) and continues with Many Hidden Rooms which will be released later in 2017.

If I told you that writing those two books was easy, I’d be lying, and I suspect you’d see through my charade. Writing a book is not easy. (It’s easier than selling them, but that’s a tale for another campfire). Indeed, I first conceived the idea of Cerah in 2009, beginning with one sentence: “Cerah was the chosen one.”

For the next sixteen years, that sentence was about as far as the book got. I recently came across the very first draft of the first four pages. The date of the saved file is May 23, 2009. It is vastly different from what eventually became A Dark Clock or for the sake of brevity ADC. Getting from those four pages to my first published novel was, obviously, a long, twisty road.

But frankly, once I revisited the idea in 2015 the work went fairly quickly. I didn’t hit too many stumbling blocks, and although I eventually wrote several drafts and made changes right up till the final day of editing, the overall experience of writing the book was joyous.

The same was true for the sequel. Because ADC ends the way it does, (not telling… you gotta read it yourself), beginning the follow-up was just a logical extension. The first third of Many Hidden Rooms had their foundation in the situations which occurred in the prior work. The second two-thirds went in a direction I had not originally anticipated, but once I started down the path, everything ended up falling into place quite nicely.

I started the first draft of the second book in June 2016 and finished my final draft a few weeks before Christmas. Compared to the span between the genesis of the idea for the tale of Cerah and the completion of ADC, that was a heartbeat.

I gave myself a little vacation after finishing the second book. During that time I worked on a lot of short fiction and collected and polished the stories that eventually became Welcome Home. I played with a bunch of different ideas, knowing even as I did that many, if not most, of them, would never see the light of day. Because here’s a secret:

I have to write. I very rarely go a day without writing something, even if it’s a page or two in my journal, or sometimes just a note jotted in the little brown notebook I carry in my pocket where ever I go. I bought it at the dollar store, and it’s already paid for itself a dozen times over, as it’s captured ideas or fragments of ideas, sketches of dialog, a name I want to use, that would otherwise come into to my sieve-like mind and dribbled right back out. I am always writing. If I’d played Blake in “Glengarry Glen Ross” instead of Alec Baldwin, my big speech would have been “A-B-W. Always Be Writing,” and it would have made the movie much worse. It would have made no sense at all, in the context of the film.

But in the context of my life, it means everything.

Finally, in mid-February, I felt I was ready to get back to Cerah. It was time. I was talking to a friend of mine a few weeks ago, and we were talking about self-doubt. He’s read ADC, so I alluded to the fact the Cerah struggled with doubt for a large portion of the book. He nodded and said, “It took her a very long time to accept who she was.” The point having been made I intended to leave it at that, but then he said, “I miss her. I can’t wait for the second book to come out.”

It warmed my heart to hear someone else who has obviously connected with my character, but more than that it clicked in my head that this was why I started the third book. I missed her. I wanted to take her to the next phase of her life.

And so, I launched into my work with relish. And mustard. (I have always been pissed at the English language for making relish both something you do with great enthusiasm, and something you put on your hotdog, but I digress).

I wrote the first chapter and was relatively happy. The second chapter was a little more difficult, and it ended up working out, but it didn’t give me a good direction for the subsequent parts.

So when I came to chapter three I was increasingly unhappy with what I was writing. With each new sentence, I found myself thinking, “No. This is not right. This is the wrong direction. I’m not pleased.”

In an effort to get myself restarted, I went back and made some improvements to the first two chapters, and returned to the third with renewed hope, but once again it just wouldn’t behave. It would not do as I wanted.

And so, I walked away. I backed up my files, and I didn’t open them for over a month.

Of course, I kept writing and found another, totally unrelated idea that I feel might eventually develop into a novel. I’ve bounced it off my local writers’ group and gotten a positive response. I worked on it regularly for about two weeks, and feel it’s a solid little story.

But two nights ago, I returned once more to Cerah.

The time I took away from the story was time I didn’t even think about it much. It was off the radar. But when I sat down and reopened the file, I knew exactly what I wanted to. I knew where I had gone astray. By the time I’d finished the third chapter, I had a very clear idea of what was going to happen for the next four subsequent sections. Today I wrote about 3000 words of chapter five, and it is a little less than halfway finished.

Walking away was just what the doctor ordered.

It’s ironic because in most areas of my life, walking away is not my M.O. I’ve worked at jobs way longer than I should have because I don’t walk away. I’ve worked through all the issues that one encounters in twenty-eight years of marriage because I don’t walk away, (and thankfully neither does my wife).

But when it comes to writing, sometimes a serious writer must practice the fine art of walking away.

 

Do You Want To Be The Most Popular Kid in Class?

If you ever feel bad because when you open your email there’s never anything there, then I have two things to say to you.

#1) You probably haven’t been doing the email thing for very long, because if you have an email account for any length of time you’re going to get on some mailing list or another (maybe even mine!) , and there will always be somebody’s newsletter or sweepstakes announcement or 50%-off coupon for something you’ll never buy waiting for you.

#2) You have probably never registered a domain name.

Since registering sjvarengo.com last week I have become the most popular kid in class, or more accurately, on the internet. Not that anybody visits the website. (Alright, I’m lying. According to my close personal friends at Google Analytics, ten people have seen the site, some more than once, although I suspect that’s probably me, as I didn’t bother to filter myself out of the stats, fearing I might be the ONLY visitor).

hudson

Uncle Zeke says you can have it for a song.

But the real story here isn’t the website itself, it’s the domain registration. I don’t know if everyone’s experience is the same as mine, but I’m pretty sure my registrar sold me like a your uncles old brown Hudson. Because in the last few day’s I’ve heard from every website developer on the Indian Subcontinent, (and I’m not being racist here, they’ve literally all been from India), as well as every schlump with Photoshop who fancies himself a “professional logo developer.” One guy even tried to get me to hire him to “register on search engines before the deadline expires.” Only one problem with that enticing offer, aspiring entrepreneur: I know how search engines work.

Did you think I was kidding?

I once said, long ago, during a particularly philosophical moment, that the internet is a pretty accurate microcosm of the world at large. There are a lot of good people and there a lot of talking rectums. Back when I said this the population of web-users was far smaller than it is today, now that everyone has a smartphone, a laptop, a desktop and three tablets, usually all running at the same time, but it’s just as true today. Sometimes I feel the ratio of nice to not-nice may be tipping a little more towards the latter, but that might just be my impression.

til-vultures-640

We’re Watching You!

But one thing is certain. Just as in the real world, there are plenty of vultures who circle overhead, waiting to swoop down on you, especially if they think you’re vulnerable. “This domain was just registered. This person knows nothing. I can sell them the Brooklyn Bridge!”  Or, more accurately in my case, the Old Godavari Bridge, I suppose. (I already own the New Godivari Bridge, thank you very much.)

 

Vultures.

And the logo creators are even worse.  I’ve heard from dozens of them. And while I recognize that a nifty logo is a good thing to have, I have Photoshop too. And I have every intention of developing a super-dandy logo all by myself. I’m going to take my time, think things through, and wait until I’m completely satisfied. In the meantime, though, I have developed this placeholder version, specifically targeted to the web-developer/logo creating/search-engine-registering-before-the-deadline-expires vultures who have been attempting to pick my bones clean:

finger

I mean it in the nicest possible way

So, if you’re lonely, and you don’t care if the email that floods your inbox is actually from someone who wants to communicate with you, register a domain name. It’s a great way to meet vultures.

Sidebar:

I’ve replied to every single email saying simply, “Not interested. Thank you.” I’ve also filed them away, so that if I hear from them a second time my reply can be a little less polite.

Second Sidebar:

Authors, especially old ones like me, are wonderful people, till you tick us off. Then we use all that hard earned wordcraft to tell you precisely what we think of you.

Final Sidebar, I Promise:

None of this is directed to you, my true and faithful readers. You’re on the “Internet Nice List,” and I should know. I’m Internet Santa, writing from the Internet North Pole.

Things Just Got Easier

 

garanimalslogo

I always match, so screw you!

I have this website. It’s got the same cute name as this blog, namely S.J. Varengo – Author. Everything I have has that name attached. It’s even embroidered on my underpants, right next to the Garanimals logo.

 

It’s just that it’s the logical thing to call websites and blogs that deal with my writing. Because it’s my name and what I do. Get it?

Well, being as I do everything on the cheap, when I launched the website, I did it on a free hosting service, which gave me a web address that (literally) is so bad that whenever I posted a link to any of my pages on Facebook, it would make me pass a security check. This is not a joke. It really did.

Pretty much from day one, I promised myself that when I could see my way clear, financially speaking, I would get my own domain name. The thing is the last time I did that, a long time ago when the interweb was still a baby, this was neither an inexpensive nor an easy proposition. Back then I was passing myself off as a website designer and my web address was varengoworks.com. The day after it expired, (because I missed renewing it by that much), some corporation had swooped in and purchased it, and wanted me to pay them an exorbitant amount of money for a website that earned me a grand total of $100 during the year I owned it. (Also not a joke). I passed on their offer and never had the inclination to go that route again.

Until now. Because after doing a little research I found out that I could register a dot com for less than ten bucks, and my host (000webhost – still not a joke), made it a relatively easy process. I thought it was difficult while I was setting it up, until I stopped working on it because I had to go pick up my wife, thinking I had failed and needed to come back later to figure out what I was doing wrong. When I came back later it was already working. Science, I guess.

So what I wanted to tell you was that my website can now be reached by typing this into your browser’s address window: sjvarengo.com.  How easy is that? Even I can remember that!

212There are potential pitfalls, however. Even though my last name is spelled exactly like it sounds (as are all Italian names purty much), I have, over the years, seen it misspelled with so many varieties and with such aplomb that I should probably register all the possible variations. Including this one, from when Tyler Perry’s Madea apparently contacted my wife about the magazine to which she subscribed going belly up.. Proof? Check it out.

Ultimately, I will take my chances with the single domain name. Because as happy as I am about this, let’s face it: you, the reader, are the winner here.

A Dark Clock is Now Available For NOOK

Some people like the Yankees (right-thinking, good people who don’t kick dogs), some people like the Red Sox (people who don’t fit the previous description). Some people like ToyoDark Clock030917ta, some like Nissan. Some folks like Lester Holt, some prefer Scott Pelly. Some people are asking “What’s your point?”

My point is that everybody has preferences. And in the world of digital books, some people like Amazon’s Kindle, and others prefer the Nook, by Barnes & Nobel. As far as I can see, both are pretty nifty, and the books look pretty much the same on either device. But the files for each are totally incompatible with the other, and therein lies the rub.

Until recently the only device on which you could read A Dark Clock was the Kindle, and tens of Nook users were left out in the cold, with big, sad puppy eyes.

Weep No More!

On this happy day in history, A Dark Clock has been released for the Nook and is available here, for only $3.99, which is the identical price to the Kindle version, (which now wants to be known as the “older twin.”)

Another Secret

Welcome HomeYou can also purchase the paperback edition of Welcome Home at Barnes & Nobel. Shh! Don’t tell Amazon.

Mailing List

And, as always, I encourage you to join my mailing list. The folks who already have known this news, they knew it way sooner than folks who only read this blog. In fact, I think I heard one of them laugh at you. Don’t be laughed at by people you cannot see or hear. Join the List!

AND… An Appeal

I’m actively beseeching [begging] anyone who has read either Welcome Home or A Dark Clock to consider writing a review on Amazon, Barnes & Nobel or Good Reads. It will only take a few minutes, and I can’t stress how important it is for an indie author to have a good collection of reviews, (or better still, a collection of good reviews!) on the sites that sell the books. It makes them more likely to show up in searches, and it gives potential reader’s another person (besides the author’s) word to go on when selecting a book to read. And if you do, drop me an email to let me know you did, so that I can praise your effort on social media!

P.S. Red Sox fans, I was only kidding about you kicking dogs.

P.P.S. Everyone else: they totally do! I seent it with my own eyes!

Why I Quit Writing (About Politics)

I was pretty active on Facebook and Twitter during last year’s presidential campaign. My politics, I must state at the outset, run fairly liberal. Which, last I checked, was allowed under the tenants of our nation’s founding principles.

 

bernie

Crazy Hair

So when things started heating up, I felt I needed to speak to all the madness I was seeing. And when the Democratic Primary was held in New York State, I went out and voted for Bernie Sanders. So did a lot of other people, and in retrospect, as insanely progressive as Bernie is, he may have been the more viable candidate.

 

I was very disturbed by what I saw happening among the Republican candidates. Their debates, it seemed to me, were more like bad reality TV than political discourse.

 

Hillary-1

Certainly LOOKS Crazy

The Democrats managed a little more decorum, but, frankly, they weren’t saying much either. Except for Bernie, who no one listened to.

 

So we ended up with Hillary and Donald. Le sigh.

The thing about the election that bothered me, as a Democrat, was that my party was ambivalent of HRC, at best, and not fully behind her. The same certainly could not be said for the other candidate. In spite of what I say as glaring faults which should have disqualified him from any public office, let alone “the highest in the land,” (I put it in quotes because we’ve had a spate of presidents during my lifetime who certainly did not elevate the office to it’s highest level). But his supporters just loved him. I heard quotes like these:

  • “That was just ‘locker room talk. It shouldn’t be taken seriously!” (After the Billy Bush – Access Hollywood “hot microphone” incident)
  • “See that? What the devil meant for ill, God used for good!” (After someone spray painted “Vote for Trump” on a church that had been set fire, implying that the Vote for Trump message was such a good thing that it made the church burning good too.)

 

donald-trump

Might Actually Be Crazy

Even since the election, their devotion to him hasn’t wavered. The Trump faithful are just that: faithful. Granted polls show his approval rating was most recently 39%, with a low of 36% a few days before, but don’t tell his supporters that.

 

But enough about him.

The point of this entry is that I don’t write about that stuff anymore. And here’s why:

As I’ve gotten older I’ve found that high among my life’s greatest treasures are the relationships I have forged over the years. I know all sorts of people from all walks of life. Some I’ve known for forty years or more, some have come into my life only recently. Some share my concerns about the president. But some feel that he is, truly, just what America (and, I suppose, the world) needed at this point in history. And some, (and I envy these folks sometimes) don’t give a crap either way.

The folks who have lined up on one side of the issue or the other are sometimes very passionate about it, and anything anyone has to say that conflicts with their worldview either sends them into a frenzy or is simply ignored. Neither side is convincing the other of anything, except maybe that the other side is crazy.

So if I’m not going to convince anyone of the opposing view to see things differently, then why would I want to risk losing friends who matter to me very much? These people aren’t running around punching babies, they just support a guy who might someday punch a baby. I don’t know if he will, but I wouldn’t put it past him.

 

ben_carson

Don’t Even Get Me Started

What brought this to a head for me was when I actually did lose a friend after posting something about a certain Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who I may have suggested was clinically insane. Not naming any names, but let’s just say he’s the only Ben that worries me more than Ben Affleck.

 

It was a guy I knew in high school, and though we weren’t super-close, I remember him fondly as a genuinely good guy. Apparently he knows said secretary personally and holds great fondness for him. He asked me why I thought Mr. Secretary was deranged. I guess he was okay with being told that slaves were eager immigrants, and the homeless were happy and adventurous outdoorsmen. My insinuations, ok, my outright declaration, that this fellow was nuts, was so offensive to him that he accused me of “exposing myself as the party of hate.” I had no problem with him accusing my of exposing myself, but not as “the party of hate.” (Again, I digress.)

And after leaving the angry comment, he deleted me.

Now, I want to make it clear that I am not criticizing either group for standing up for their beliefs. I am proud of my Republican friends for their passion, just as I am proud of my Democrat friends for their resistance to what they see as a dangerous, slippery slope that we are on. And while I agree with the latter, I’ve decided that as far as Facebook, which is where what I say is most widely viewed, I’m keeping my mouth shut.

My friends mean more to me than my opinions.

I don’t feel I’m being hypocritical by saying the things I’ve said in this post, after just saying I’m not going to write about politics, as you are going to have to actively come to my site to read this, it’s not going to be thrust upon you in the form of a FB post, (though the WordPress version will send a link to FB, but that’s not the same thing).

So to summarize, I still have very strong beliefs about what’s happening in my country. I’m just not going to tell you about them on Facebook anymore. I won’t call out people who do and I won’t comment on their posts, (though I may still click a “like” or two). I will resist in appropriate channels (I have congress people who represent me and who will hear my opinions directly, for example), but I will not denigrate anyone for their opinions.

I want to expose myself as the “party of love.”