Archive for the 'Writing' Category

MY PRACTICAL SPIRITUAL EXERCISE FOR JANUARY…

December 30th, 2017

In the final chapter of his book, How To Be A Stoic, Massimo Picliucci offers 12 practical spiritual exercises. In the coming year I’m going to devote one month to each of these exercises. For January I begin with: Examine Your Impressions. “So make a practice at once of saying to every strong impression, ‘An […]

SUE GRAFTON (& KINSEY MILLHONE): 1940-2017—
A IS FOR ALIBI
TO Y IS FOR YESTERDAY…

December 29th, 2017

I have commented that I thought Sue Grafton was living a writer’s dream and nightmare. A dream because she had 26 books locked in and all she had to do was write them and cash the checks. A nightmare because she had to write all 26 books about Kinsey Millhone. Most writers couldn’t bear the […]

PLAINLY THERE’S A WORD FOR FIGURING OUT LIFE…

December 29th, 2017

The Greeks had a word for everything. My new word from reading Massimo Picliucci’s How To Be A Stoic is eudaemonia: well-being or happiness. Happiness ought not to be confused with fun. Eudaemonia is about purpose and direction. Picliucci dives much deeper here, but for now let’s begin with this: Eudaemonic: having the objective of […]

DON’T KILL THE SNAKE, JUST AVOID THE PATH…

December 29th, 2017

I’m reminded of a scene from W—a movie I could not watch because I lacked distance—where Vice President Dick Cheney discusses whether or not a 1 percent chance that a salad might have been poisoned was a good reason to not eat the salad as a metaphor for sacrificing millions to the possibility that there […]

DISHONORABLE ACTS DESERVE NO CREDIT…

December 28th, 2017

Typically when I post notes from My Electronic Chapbook, I do so in order. I finished transcribing my notes to Harold Evans’ Do I Make Myself Clear? Why Writing Well Matters this afternoon and I was so stuck by my final note, I felt compelled to not only share the note immediately, but also to […]

LIFE, NOTHING MORE, IS THE MEANING OF LIFE…

December 27th, 2017

We begin, we end; we are born and we die. Some pass on their DNA. Some do not. What transpires between those two bookends of existence has no meaning beyond that which we choose to imbue our seconds, minutes, hours and days. Most of us suck at creating meaning. A few do not; but in […]

MULDER WAS RIGHT, THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE…

December 26th, 2017

In learning there is mastery but no masters. We may conquer some small corner of the Universe, we may come to understand all that we think there is to know about that corner, but there will always be someone—like Giordano Bruno—who looks and says, wait, the corner is an illusion and we must explore what […]

HOLIDAY’S OVER, NOW GET BACK TO WORK…!

December 26th, 2017

EMBRACING THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA…

December 26th, 2017

Happiness, I’m convinced, is like cold and darkness, it is marked by an absence—heat in the case of cold and light in the case of darkness—rather than a presence. For me, true happiness is the absence of stress, conflict and disruption. Happiness is not the dopamine shot we get by obtaining some experience or object […]

WE ARE ALL DESIGNED BY NATURAL SELECTION…

December 25th, 2017

We are shaped, as is all life, by natural selection. Thoughts and behaviors that result in our surviving the myriad of threats to our lives get coded into our DNA. Those that don’t, don’t. Millennia after our initial coding, the legacy remains and understanding how that drives our daily experiences can be informative. Our brains […]

START CONSTRUCTION OF THE B ARK IMMEDIATELY…

December 22nd, 2017

No less a luminary than Douglas Adams saw the dark path the world now travels decades ago when he described our true, galactic ancestors, The Golgafrinchans. What did they know? André Spicer, writing in a Guardian long read—From inboxing to thought showers: how business bullshit took over—explains: In early 1984, executives at the telephone company […]

THE POST IS HISTORY, THIS IS HAPPENING NOW..

December 21st, 2017

I listened to Justin Chang’s review of The Post yesterday, and the movie dramatizing decisions made by Washington Post Publisher Katharine Graham, played by Meryl Streep, and Editor Ben Bradlee, played by Tom Hanks, regarding The Pentagon Papers sounds good. When the story broke in 1971 I was preparing to enter my junior year in […]

WHO PUNKED CNN, MSNBC, CBS AND TPM…?

December 10th, 2017

This has been a sad year for Journalism, and we’ve got 21 days to go. Democracy cannot exist without a free, independent and reliable fourth estate. I just finished reading Bruce Bartlett’s excellent The Truth Matters: A citizen’s guide to separating facts from lies and stopping fake news in it’s tracks. (Jordon Klepper interviewed Bartlet […]

TAKE A KNEE BY KWAME ALEXANDER…

December 5th, 2017

TAKE A KNEE Take a moment, Take a picture, Take a boy Take a park Take a toy Take a man Take a gun Take a guess Take a look Take a shot Take a bullet Take a life Take a life? Take a life Take Tamir Take Trayvon Take Cornelius Take Philando Take Jamar […]

RAISING BARRIERS AGAINST THE XANADU MOMENT…

December 2nd, 2017

I like reading about other writers’ rooms on Saturday mornings. I very seldom find a mention that I want to save, but when I do, I savor the words. This morning, reading about Barbara Trapido’s room (I had no idea who she was until this moment) her concluding paragraph gave me pause. She writes: The […]

WHAT DO DAVE & CHUCK GET FOR $650 MILLION…?

November 27th, 2017

So, Dave and Chuck, the Koch brothers had $650 million lying around and thought that buying an interest in an aging dinosaur of a print media company would be a good idea. Since they made their money the old fashion way, they inherited it, I could buy that they would toss money around like that. […]

HEROES, ROLE MODELS AND THE SILLY FAMOUS…

November 26th, 2017

When I was in middle school I read a lot of young adult biographies. There was a whole section produced by the same publisher in the school library and I think I read most, if not all of them. I remember Thomas Edison, Booker T. Washington, Nellie Bly, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Marie Curie and […]

I HAVE EMBARKED ON A STOIC WALKABOUT…

November 25th, 2017

I received a birthday present from Oliver Burkeman this year: an introduction to How To Be A Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy To Live A Modern Life by Massimo Picliucci. In his weekly column Consumed by anxiety? Give it a day or two for the Guardian, Burkeman wrote: The next time you’re consumed by anxiety—which, given […]

MANUFACTURING CONSENT FOR THE CONSENTING…

November 17th, 2017

I first read Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media when I was a magazine editor working for Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in the late ’80s. I was only five years out of journalism school and the book reminded me of why I had become a journalist. I didn’t […]

THE LEGACY OF SF&F GREAT OCTAVIA BUTLER…

November 14th, 2017

I remember discovering Octavia Butler back in 1976 at The Amber Unicorn, a fantasy and science fiction bookstore then doing business in San Diego, California (the store has since moved to Las Vegas). My habit was to spend no more than $20 per payday on new paperback books. In 1976 that would buy six to […]

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