The State of my Writing

Instead of writing a post before editing tonight, I’ve decided to take a break between chapters.  The next chapter is good, but it’s going to take some effort to clean up and bring to the level of my standards.  Now is a good time to sit back and gather my strength for the next bit of work.

So, where am I with my writing?

Literally, I’m at a Starbucks.  Not the one I’d been attending with Michael.  This one is a little bit bigger, and stays open a little bit later.  I used to like to work here back when I wanted to make Stormbreaker Software a thing.  Now, it’s a decent place to work on my fiction when I need to get out of the house and surround myself with productive white noise.

The question isn’t about my physical location.  It’s about my life as a writer.  What am I doing?  Where is this all going?  Have I given up yet, or am I still plugging along?

I’m continuing to edit The Repossessed Ghost.  The more I work on it, the more excited I get about it.  It’s a good story!  It isn’t perfect.  I don’t expect it to be a New York Times best seller.  But it’s good!  I really think anyone that likes Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files will like my book.

The first draft of The Repossessed Ghost came out to be a little over 60,000 words.  Too short to sell through the traditional route.  The first draft had been 24 chapters in length.  In the second draft, I’ve been expanding places and adding story elements that should have been here from the beginning.  I’m currently on chapter 25.  I think there are about 15 chapters left.

What am I going to do with it when its done?  What am I going to do with myself?

I’ll submit it to my writer’s group.  They’ve seen part of it already, and they seemed to enjoy it.  I’ll give it to some other readers, and make sure it is as good as I hope it is.  I’ll do another draft, though I imagine the third draft will not be as deep as the second has been.

Then I’ll need to make some decisions.  I’ll try to get an agent.  If I’m successful, and the book gets picked up, great!  If I’m not, then I’ll need to find an editor.  I’ll need to find an artist.  And then I’ll need to self-publish.

I’ve already written a book that sits in a drawer.  I’m not going to do that with this book.  The Repossessed Ghost deserves a chance to be in front of readers.

That says more about where I am with my writing life than anything.  I have confidence in my work.  I’ve beaten my fears, and my inner editor.

Progress is slower than I want, but I am still progressing.  And when I’m done with The Repossessed Ghost, I’ve got a couple of other books to finish.  And if The Repossessed Ghost really takes off, I’ve got sequels in mind.

I don’t need to make a ton of money with my writing.  I don’t need to be famous.  But I would like this to be my career, and I really want people to enjoy my stories.

So I’ll keep going, and see what the future holds.  Who knows?  Maybe I’m doing exactly what I need to do to make my dreams come true.


Why I Prefer Sanders to Clinton

Let’s begin by addressing sexism.  I want a woman to be President.  Just not Hillary Clinton.  If Elizabeth Warren were running for President, I would choose her over Clinton and Sanders.  She is smart, addresses many of the same issues Sanders does, and everything I’ve seen of her has impressed me.

I need to start here because gender is part of this campaign, whether we want it to be or not.  Some of Sanders’ devout have been downright nasty on this point.  Bill Clinton has rightfully blasted “Bernie Bro” supporters, and Sanders himself has said that he doesn’t want that kind of support.  On Clinton’s side, the topic of gender hasn’t been much better.  Steinem and Albright both missed the mark when Steinem said women supporting Sanders are doing it to find men, and Albright told women that there is a special place in hell for women if they did not support Hillary Clinton, because Hillary Clinton is a woman.

Any feminist should be embarrassed by Steinem’s and Albright’s remarks.  Votes should be earned, regardless of race, gender, sexual preference, or lineage.

Gender should not be an issue.  It will be in this election, because we have a lot of unenlightened people.  Some will want Sanders to win over Clinton because Clinton is a woman.  And some will want Clinton to win over Sanders, for the exact same reason.  Hopefully those people will cancel each other out.

For the rest of us, we should be making our decisions based on what they say, and what their record shows.  From what I’ve seen, Sanders has been consistent, and I agree with him in principle on issues he’s taken a stand on.  I like the grassroots approach Sanders has taken in his pursuit of the Presidency.  He flies coach, shows genuine humanity… I believe him.  Do I think he’ll accomplish everything that he says he wants to do?  No.  But I believe he will try, and that’s what I want my President to do.

Clinton, on the other hand, is a political machine.  She’s every bit as slick as her husband, shifting and adapting as the situation demands.  For example, her recent efforts have been to tie herself to Obama, and associate Obama’s successes with her Presidential aspirations.  This is a sharp contrast to her tune in 2008.

In fact, let’s take a look back in time at her 2008 bid.  She made wins during that run, but they were ugly.  When she won Nevada, articles referred to allegations that Clinton tried to manipulate the vote.  There is language in those articles about “push polls,” the same language I’ve seen recently about Clinton’s campaign this year.

Clinton is a fierce competitor.  She will do and say whatever it takes to get the Presidency, I have no doubt.  And because of this, I don’t trust her.  I didn’t trust her in 2008.  I don’t trust her now.

Unfortunately, the race between Clinton and Sanders for the Democratic bid may not be decided by the public.  Sanders secured a landslide victory in New Hampshire, but it doesn’t matter.  Clinton gained more delegates than Sanders, even though she lost.

Clinton has received way more attention in the media than Sanders.  Trump has received more attention than both Clinton and Sanders combined, but Trump is a circus act.  He’s entertainment, driving up ratings because his campaign is an intriguing story.  In a similar fashion, Clinton has received favorable treatment in the media.  The “first woman President” makes for a great story, so why wouldn’t there be a media bias?  It’s much more exciting than the “first Jewish President.”

Those are my thoughts in regards to why I prefer Sanders over Clinton.  The bottom line is that I do not trust her.  It is not because she’s a woman.  It’s because she is a politician, playing the game.

Let me end with this: If it comes down to a choice between Clinton and Trump or Cruz, I will choose Clinton.  Both Trump and Cruz represent the worst of America.  With the way the Democratic race is playing out, it looks like I will have to choose Clinton.  I’m not going to avoid voting, just because my first choice isn’t on the ballot.  No one in the Republican running deserves to be President, based on their words and their record.


The Internet is Immature

I’ve been thinking about the world I remember before the internet, and the world I know now.  We are a people forever changed by a world made so much smaller.  We are connected, with the vastness of human experience and knowledge at our fingertips.  Interconnected humanity is like a new creature, huge and powerful.  And like any living thing, interconnected humanity must have a life cycle: birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and death.

Think about the mid 90s, and what The Internet looked like.  The Internet struggled to find a common language.  Static websites dotted the surface of the landscape, experimental and naive.  Like an infant learning to lift its head, we toyed around with different browsers.  We could see the potential of The Internet, but we needed more infrastructure and more language before that potential could be realized.

A few years later, search engines started to appear on the web, making it easier to find each other.  Bandwidth began to grow.  The earliest web applications were born, and more dynamic content started to show us what we might one day do with The Internet.

Just before the year 2000, The Internet entered a period of stunning growth.  New businesses came into being.  The Dot Com Era sprang up, like a toddler taking its first steps.  And like the toddler, we fell a few times while we were learning to walk.

Now, we have greater sophistication.  We have Google and Amazon and other business models that could never have existed before The Internet.  The Internet is like The Force, surrounding us and binding us together.  It’s on our phones.  It’s in the air.  We are all connected, all the time, talking, texting, typing.  Young adults today have never known a time when The Internet didn’t exist.  We, the living, breathing creature that is made up of human beings, with a nervous system constructed out of wire and TCP/IP, must surely be in our adulthood now, right?

I don’t think so.  The Internet is amazing, sure, but we still obsessed with boobs and cat videos.  If I was to place an age on us, I would say we’re in our early teens at the oldest.

Internet porn is not the only evidence.  Look at the way we interact with each other.  Look at the comments on YouTube videos.

“But Brian,” you say, “That’s YouTube.  Of course the comments there are going to be immature.  The target audience of YouTube is a younger crowd.”

Okay, then look at the comments on political news articles.  Or, if you want to retain faith in humanity, DON’T look at those comments.  What you’ll find there is close-minded, bigoted, hateful name calling and vitriol.  That’s from both the right and the left.

Interconnected humanity is not a terrible creature.  We are just young.  We haven’t learned to play well with each other.  Like children, we’re prone to hyperbole and tantrums.  Like children, we reduce complex issues into black and white, right or wrong, binary thinking.  We can be sweet, but we’re often self-absorbed, lacking the maturity required to be consistently considerate.

We are learning.  We are discovering that we have strength, and can change the world when we focus.  We have inclinations towards addressing social issues, though we may not always agree on how to talk about those issues, or how to solve the problems.  Though we still have more work to do, we should be amazed at we’ve managed to do already.  We’re slowly but surely getting better at accepting each other’s differences.

We still have a ways to go, but I’m hopeful.  I look at us and I believe we will get better.  We will mature.  And what amazing things will we do then?