Needing Set Up Time to Get Into My World

For the past few years, I’ve used the time alone in the car on my return commute to leave reality and inhabit the world I’ve created. I think about plot, character development, civilizations, culture, dialogue and whatever else might snag my thoughts. By the time I reach my home, reality has receded into the background, for me to go through motions until I’m at my computer, ready to type whatever thoughts had been swirling down. This year, however, my thoughts have been disjointed and when I sit down to type, I’m desperately aware of the fact that I am on…

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Oh Boy, Hillary Stepped In It, Didn’t She?

This was one helluva unforced error. Hillary Clinton at Nancy Reagan’s funeral praised the former First Lady for her voice in speaking out about AIDS and awareness. Say what? Those of us who were in the trenches during the 80’s and 90’s remember those years with clarity and Nancy Reagan (nor her beloved Ronnie) wasn’t an ally. In fact, their silence on AIDS was what bred the “Silence = Death” activism. Nice going Hillary. You just lost a huge swathe of queer folks who were waffling between you and Bernie Sanders.

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How to Have Long-Term Rivalry & Emerge as Friends

I was a decent fan of tennis in the 70’s and 80’s. If you were any sort of fan back then, you basically had to choose sides: Chris Evert or Martina Navratilova. I chose early and never wavered from my choice until she retired: Chrissy Evert. Here’s an article from Parade.com about these two tennis greats’ rivalry and friendship. The best quote from Chris Evert in there was this: I was one of the greatest players who ever won Wimbledon who didn’t have a serve! I’d say 99.9% of Evert’s serves were returned. If she played another baseline player, you were…

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Nightmare, or Was It?

The other night, I woke up to Westina shaking me awake. “There’s someone in the house!” she whispered. I heard noises immediately. Somehow, I was able to see a shadow moving down the hallway, which should’ve clued me in. Getting up, I indicated to Loki to follow me. Inkling was still curled on Westina’s legs. I walked into the living room to find a stranger sitting in the middle of my couch. He was stretched out with his hands tucked behind his head (as if he was surrendering) and his long legs jutting out from the couch as if they…

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Only a Cry Away

Over the holidays, I saw my cousin-in-law who is undergoing chemo for ovarian cancer. When she walked in, she was hunched and moving slowly. “The Chemo-walk,” I later told her. “You’ve got it.” I urged her about some things I knew about, like getting a temporary handicap placard for your car, and getting a wheelchair just to save energy. “Your energy will be less and less,” I told her. Besides her, I spoke with few. I wasn’t in the mood for celebrations nor company but that’s not part of the holiday spirit so I mingled. Later, I tossed and turned the…

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I’m Not… But I Am…

One of the hardest things in life is self-reflection. I don’t mean for the big moments. Self-reflection on how you act when someone’s sick, or someone’s dying is commonplace. Those are moments out of time, the ones life asks that you be a better you so that the moment can be supported and carried through. I’m talking about about the small moments when you feel absolutely justified in how you act, or the moments when life asks for a quick reaction and how you react won’t stay long in your memory or others. Somehow, when we think of ourselves, we…

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To Close Schools or Not to Close Schools

What is the right move in this day of instant communication across the world? A world where politics, greed, power and a disregard for people and things that are “other”, combined to create scores of folks disaffected enough to strike out? Today, schools in Los Angeles received an email that threatened bombs in schools. The email apparently referenced backpacks and bombs. No specific school was named in the threat and yet the school supervisors deemed it credible enough to close the entire. school. district. Over a thousand. Apparently, New York got the same email (and they are claiming schools all over…

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Toxic Employees

There’s a new study from Harvard Business Schools that apparently says that hiring superstars who are toxic employees is more detrimental to your workplace than hiring regular folks who aren’t toxic. I actually experienced this first hand. I used to work for a small firm who had about 7-10 employees at any given time. One of the employees, “G” was a friend of the owner’s. A free spirit, G was lots of fun. He was also very quick at his job. Because he could see the big picture, he saw how the industry we were in at the time, was a…

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Never Underestimate the Power of Loneliness

I’ve been reading up on the San Bernadino shooting. The picture that’s emerging seems to be that the wife was the extremist and that the husband joined her gladly. The other side of the picture seems to be an argument with an Israeli defender at the Holiday party. As a writer, the most plausible story-line is that the guy was a lonely young man who found his wife through an online search that took him to the other side of the world. The wife he chose (or was chosen for him) had already made up her mind about non-Muslims so when…

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A Kinder, Gentler Me

I used to be an asshole. Well, to be honest, I still am sometimes but I’ve curbed my assholery down to a minimum. Why? Because living with someone whose empathy surpasses mine makes it hard. I am a very empathetic person. The thing is, because of my family background, I was very content to keep that empathy restricted to folks I knew or met. Strangers? Why you’re not part of my tribe. Before I met my wife, I used to stack all the phonecalls I had to make to utilities onto a PMS day. Then already irritated, I’d unleash fumes of wrath…

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