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Monthly Archives: August 2013

Just this afternoon, while taking my regular stroll down to Niantic Bay, half to prevent heart disease and diabetes, half to take in the sites of my beautiful seaside town, I ran into a protester set up near the corner of Hope Street and Pennsylvania Ave–poetic. She had a table and several large signs instructing us to “impeach Obama.” Some of the pictures depicted Obama with Adolf Hitler’s mustache. I paid no mind and strolled on, my cause much more impressive than hers.

I’m glad I saw her, though, because the second I walked by that table and saw those signs, I knew I was going to blog about them. I just didn’t know why. This gave me something to ponder while I walked and listened to The Offspring on Pandora. And this is what I came up with.

There’s one thing that we all have in common that transcends all the other commonalities and differences. I could wax poetic about us all sharing the environment, all needing love, all having insecurities, or I could talk about the violent split in our society between various political and religious beliefs. But those similarities and differences aren’t nearly as important as the one thing that has always been, and always will be, the great equalizer.

We are all going to die.

When I see those guys you all label as crazy standing in the middle of the sidewalk in New York City with signs proclaiming “The End is Near,” I can’t help but see the truth to that. Near is a relative term. Each of us are pretty close to our end the moment we’re born. Add to that the chance of instantaneous death and dismemberment from countless different diseases, accidents, and tragedies that can take a life at the drop of a hat, and it might be nearer than you think.

The point?

Set aside religious ideals on this one, and just humor me with a philosophical exercise here. Let’s pretend that right at the moment of death, you literally do have your life flash in front of your eyes. Only imagine your life flashed before you on a spreadsheet broken down into categories, each minute accounted for. Think about that. What would that spreadsheet show? It doesn’t really happen like this, but it doesn’t mean your life cannot be measured in just this way.

How many minutes did you spend worrying about what someone else thought? How many minutes did you spend causing others to hurt? How many minutes did you spend bringing more hate into the world? How many minutes did you spend making others feel inferior just so you could put a bandage over the wounds of inferiority others had inflicted upon you?

I know I for one am not comfortable with my estimates.

Now how many minutes did you spend making others feel better about themselves? Feeling good about yourself? Enjoying the little things in life? Guiding a misguided youth? Showing others how to love so they can spread it like a happy disease? How many minutes did you actually do something worth while? Read a book? Write one? Smile at a stranger? Breathe fresh air? Appreciate the beauty of nature? Think thoughts nobody else has thought before? Think thoughts others have thought but in your own way? Wondered why? Did just what you wanted no matter what society thought?

It seems with such a short amount of time on Earth, we should be ashamed of how much time we waste on things that don’t matter. I know I am. And just imagine when you look at a world that you can barely stand because of all the hatred, division, and greed festering in it, that some of your precious minutes have actually been spent adding little droplets of hatred, division, and greed to the ocean we are now drowning in. You helped make this. I helped make this. With so little time, we chose to spend some of our minutes creating what we’re hating.

I’m glad I walked by that table without confronting or questioning her. I’m glad I continued on enjoying the scenery, thinking deep thoughts, listening to good music, and getting exercise to help increase my minutes on Earth. Why add to the hatred? Why add to the division? Why waste my time?

I’m sure there was something much more important she could have been doing with hers.

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I’m a spaz.

I’m a wacko. I’m a dork. I’m a loser.

I have serious issues. I know this. Not ashamed. Even though I’ve only just sent out a couple queries yesterday and the day before, every time I look at my email inbox I’m like a contestant on Deal or No Deal waiting for the next case to be opened. It doesn’t help that I look at my email inbox ALL THE TIME. Those who know me know that the second I receive an email, they pretty much receive an answer. I just love connecting with people. I take it personally and begin to doubt myself and my relationships when people don’t get back to me on Facebook, email, and texts as quick as I get back to them.

“The t-shirt vendor hasn’t gotten back to me about our designs in more than seventy two hours! I wonder if they hate me for choosing that hard-to-find color!”

Sad, I know. So when I send out any email, including queries, my mind still hasn’t come to grips with the fact that the rest of the world isn’t filled with spaz-wacko-dork-losers like me.

And then I got a smart phone…

Why am I confessing this? Why am I telling the world how pathetic I am? Well, like I said, I’ve just started spinning the big wheel that is agent querying. After two straight books of rejection, I’m putting myself out there again, ready to have my heart broken upwards of fifty times, no after no after no. Everything from the form rejection that means they have no desire to talk to you at all–the “I have to go to the bathroom” bar rejection of queries–to the “I love your writing and this story, and someone will definitely publish it, but it’s not the right story for me at this time” rejections.

It’s not you; it’s me.

I’m pondering this upcoming psychological torture as I hear more and more about self-publishing and Amazon.com. I see writer friends trying it. In fact, they have customers on Amazon writing reviews of their work and giving them stars and everything. They’ve made some pocket money (not much more). So why not? Why do I keep querying, getting my heart broken, and creating mini emotional events every time I open my email? Okay, mini kind of downplays the reality of the torment I inflict upon myself.

I can’t do it. I feel like going that route is giving up. I don’t give up. Ever. I can’t remember the last time I failed at something. If I do, I just keep going until it’s fixed. How can I give in? It sounds self-aggrandizing to say these things, but it’s more a problem with stubbornness and insecurity. If I publish through Amazon on my own, then they win! All the doubters and nay-sayers get the last laugh. I can’t bring myself to admit that I’m not good enough. And as a former anti-establishment punk, and a current anti-establishment member of the establishment, I feel like I need to beat this arbitrary, soul-crushing, emasculating system of publishing.

Even if I were sixty five years old, on my fifteenth novel, and had a good one hundred rejections piled up on each one, I can’t imagine giving in. I imagine thinking, I still have a good twenty to twenty five more years to try. I can’t quit now!

So I’m making a new plan as of today. If I remain unpublished, I will Amazon self-publish under the following conditions:

I’m about to die.

There it is folks, a commitment from me. Right before I die you will be able to go on to Amazon and download for free every novel I write from now until then. If you’re older than me, you’ll probably miss out. Sorry. But the rest of you will have some pretty damn good books to read in your retirement homes. You can thank me in Heaven.

As for right now, I have to go. I haven’t checked my email in twenty four minutes and might be missing out on my future. I only have about fifty or sixty years to get this crap published, or I’ll have to give up.

That would suck.

Down with the man. Power to the people. Party on.

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