On the outside looking in

I’m so very, very glad that I’m not in charge of anything important right now. 

The past several months I have watched as people get frantic, frustrated, and furious over the planning and execution of various events. My conclusion as an outside observer? None for me, thanks. Whole lotta nope.

It’s more than little hiccups. It’s more than speed bumps along the way. It’s a full-on train wreck. Sometimes it’s just that life has different plans, but sometimes it’s…”operator error.” In other words, the cluster stems from human nature. Whether it’s disorganization, miscommunication, or just plain laziness, the humanity factor can really jack even the best laid plans.

I will admit that I don’t know the whole story for all of these things. Like I said, I’m viewing as an outsider. There are behind-the-scenes happenings that I’m not privy to. Still, the little that I do know is enough to turn me off to the notion of taking part in any of this type of responsibility in the future. What kind of nut job voluntarily takes this crap on?

Not this nut job. No siree. Until I see one of these things going smoothly without drama or chaos, I’m going to stay at the sidelines and dodge the cannon fire.

Independent Thought

It’s that time of year again: Independence Day. The fourth of July. My nation’s birthday, so to speak. So why am I not feeling particularly patriotic today?

Maybe it’s just the state of the nation as a whole. I try not to get into politics, but I’ll just come out and say it: I have no faith in our “fearless leader.” I seriously thought his campaign was a joke at first, and when it sunk in that he was, in fact, running for real, I felt a little queasy. I may have even thrown up in my mouth a little.

How can I feel patriotic about a country that can let this happen? Sure, we didn’t have the greatest choices in candidates, but there have to be some major flaws in the system if there were no good, true “leaders” to choose from. Instead, we ended up with two major choices: a shifty crook or a misogynistic egomaniac. The people chose the crook; the system chose the misogynist. Wonderful.

Thankfully, Denial is a wonderful state in this situation. Much better than any of the fifty other states. When it comes to our current government, I’ll be moving to Denial for the foreseeable future. Yep, this isn’t real. It’s all some sick prank. Any second, Ashton Kutcher is going to show up, reveal the hidden cameras, and say, “You’ve been Punk’d!”

Avoidance is my safety blanket right now. Block certain Twitter accounts and Facebook pages, change the channel if I happen to stumble upon the news, gloss over the newspaper…I don’t know if I can last the next three and a half years like this, but for now it’s an adequate band-aid. So long as we don’t end up in the middle of Shit Creek with no way to steer…

I hear the rapids are a bitch.

Can’t we all just get along?

Yeah, I know we can’t. But wouldn’t it be nice?

Trump vs anti-Trump. Alt right vs far left. Conservative vs liberal. This vs that. It’s all adversarial, with no common ground in sight. I don’t think they’re even looking for common ground, actually.

I’m more of a middle-of-the-roader. I have views that are liberal and I have views that are a bit conservative. I don’t really fall into any one category, so I guess I have a more unique view of the two warring parties. Kind of an outsider’s perspective into the world that has gone to shit in the span of a couple of weeks…politically speaking, that is.

Now, I’m trying to keep an open mind, but so far I haven’t seen any actions from the new POTUS that have me thrilled. Then again, I’m not super thrilled at the reactions of the opposing side. Millions of women marching on the same day–great, but what did it accomplish? It ended up looking like a mass hissy fit. Nothing changed. Nothing improved by this protest. Yeah, it was the largest protest in US history…but what, exactly, changed from it? Nada, that’s what.

Speaking of nada, what’s with this wall crap? I thought it was a joke by Trump before his election, but he’s actually serious about it. Uh, dude, do you remember when there were two Germanies? Because young as I am, I still remember. East and West, man. Look it up. That wall didn’t exactly make things better, and I doubt yours will either.

This whole immigration fiasco is out of hand as well. We’re a country made of immigrants…immigrants who trampled over the native people. We’re not exactly all “American” here. If I had the genealogical tendencies that my mom does, I could tell you exactly where my family came from. (I don’t, so I’d have to ask her. I personally don’t much care where my family came from, because what matters is who I am as a person, not who my great-great-great-whatever was. I am me, and that’s that.) To be honest, most of the current-day immigrants are better people than the settlers who came here a few hundred years ago to plunder and steal. I mean….no, that’s pretty much what they did to the American Indians. Native Americans. Whatever the PC term is today. Regardless of the term, we fucked them over, and that’s not cool. Now, yeah, some of the “immigrants” are people who don’t have the US in their best interests–but those are in the minority. Can’t we just let those who are trying to escape a bad situation come over here and find a new home? A little Google-ing showed me that this is what our good ol’ Statue of Liberty says to newcomers:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Yeah. So those are the exact people who are trying to come here right now. Let’s have a bit of compassion here, huh?

And speaking of diversity, people need to lay off the LGBTQIA community. I don’t fall into any of those categories, but guess what–I don’t have to fall into one of those categories to support them. Do I think the liberal media (TV shows, etc) is kinda shoving the LGBTQIA themes down our throats? Yeah, a bit. I mean, does every same-sex friendship have to turn into a sexual relationship? Why does every TV show have to have a couple or two that represent the queer/homosexual side of things? It’s affirmative action all over again, with token gay couples as opposed to token black characters. Yes, you can put these gay characters in the show, but don’t go forcing “chemistry” where there is none just to appease the masses. Same goes for “traditional” relationships as well; don’t force a relationship where there’s just a friendship. Here’s a newsflash for TV and movie-makers: there ARE friends of opposite genders who STAY friends and never get sexual in their relationship. Quit trying to force things already. It’s blatantly obvious and not at all appealing.

This whole election and post-inauguration transition has turned into one giant you-vs-me clusterfuck that shows no sign of stopping. My news feed is flooded with angry posts from both sides of the fence, and neither side is convincing me that their view is the “right” one. Howsabout we try to, oh, I don’t know, agree on at least something?

So far my views appear to be on the anti-POTUS side of the fence, but I really am trying to keep an open mind. I don’t want to just hate everything he does across the board just because I don’t like the dude as a person. I mean, there are people who are terrible people that also have good ideas. So, y’know, I should give him a chance. As we all should.

People are spouting stuff saying that Trump and his camp are all about hate, but guess what, people–that stuff you’re spouting? It’s hate-speech, too. Nobody wins in this kind of game.

Let’s just try to get along, huh? I mean, we have four years of this ahead of us. Instead of protesting in vain, try working with sympathetic parties inside the government to actuate change if you really can’t bear to agree on anything.

Don’t just write to your local senator, though; write to a senator who shares your views. You write to someone who’s pro-Trump and you want to get Trump thrown out of office, that dude’s aides are just gonna shred your letter without even reading the bulk of it. Okay, they might read it…so they can laugh as they shred it. Same for letters to the White House. I guarantee you Trump doesn’t see any of those that aren’t pro-Trump. He has aides who have aides who have aides who filter through that stuff, checking for anthrax or plague or whatever other dangerous biotoxins or chemicals may be on the envelope/letter before they’re even read, and c’mon, do you really think Trump is going to read them if they’re bashing him and threatening revolution? No. He’s not going to. He’s going to be fixing his combover in the mirror before his next photo op.

In closing (because I need to stop ranting and rambling): get over yourself. Everyone. Just get over yourself. We’re here, we’re stuck with what we’ve got, so quit whining and quit lording it over the whiners. Just find a way to survive the next four years without creating an irreparable divide in a country that has survived over 200 years and one civil war. Let’s not test the strength of our nation by causing another one. Let’s just chill and hold hands and sing “Kumbaya” and shit.

Let’s us all just try and get along, okay?


Long, Strange Trip

Well, it’s the day. It’s officially the day where the new POTUS takes office.

Can I say I agree with his policies? Nope. Can I say I voted for him? Nope. Can I say I don’t think this whole presidential race/election is a train wreck? Nope.

What I can say is that we’re stuck with him for the next four years. You can try to petition for recounts or unfollow POTUS on Twitter or protest or whatever, but this is what we’ve got. Will it shake things up? Absolutely. Will it be the end of the good ol’ U.S. of A? Eh…

I hope people calm their tits once he’s sworn in and we manage to make it a few weeks without Armageddon taking place. Or maybe it will be Armageddon. Who knows.

Myself? I’ll probably end up watching bits and pieces of the inauguration because we have a TV in the waiting room at work that’s usually set to news, but I won’t actively search it out. I’m going to just retreat inside my shell and hope I don’t get any patients that want to discuss politics.

The whole thing still seems surreal. I 100% honestly thought it was a joke when he entered the running for president. I thought “There’s no way he’ll make it to the primaries. This will be Perot all over again.” Gods, what has happened to today’s society?

As I find myself writing a futuristic dystopian novel series, I definitely see story fodder in today’s current events. I’m not going to include any of it, because that will date the books and just make me seem bitter over the whole thing, but I can see how this will reverberate in the publishing/entertainment industry for years to come. Ironic, considering the new POTUS himself is an entertainment figure.

So yeah. We’ve got this situation in front of us, and we’ve just got to push forward and keep living our lives. Do what you think is right (within reason, people) if you must, but don’t go doing anything that’s rash or impulsive or, well, a federal crime. Think before you protest or whatever you plan on doing. Protests (peaceful protests) are a constitutional right, but don’t abuse it. Your protest turns into a riot and you’re no better than what you’re protesting against.

I guess that’s really all I have to say about that. The situation sucks for many of us, but it’s what’s laid before us and we just have to soldier on and make the best of it.


Well, political frustrations aside, my novel is zipping along. I don’t want to get too hopeful, but maybe, just maybe, if I keep going at the rate I am I might finish the first draft by the end of the year–my one and only New Year’s resolution this year. 🙂

I’m just now breaking 51k words with a long scene coming up. I’ve reached a point where I either need to figure out how to wrap the novel up or I need to decide if I’m going to break it off into a sequel/trilogy. I’m pretty sure that if I end up making it too long I have enough material for another book, so a sequel is possible, but I’m not sure I have enough for three books. We’ll see.

Pantsing most of this has been difficult, especially when my characters don’t behave, but lately they’ve been cooperating. It’s almost too good to be true. Lol I have a lot of ideas, and so far the characters agree. Well, they don’t necessarily agree with my choices, but they’re going along with it for now.

The second book–if that’s the route I take–will have more politics (yuck) but also, hopefully, plenty of action and intrigue.

It’s all going to very interesting places, and I’m excited to keep writing. Here’s hoping the Muses don’t get pissed off again any time soon!

Political headache of my own design

I hate politics…so why did I decide to try to write some political conflict into my WIP?

It’s something that’s unavoidable, I guess. I have my story taking place in the semi-distant future, where the world (or at least part of the US–I haven’t hammered that part down yet) has gone to shit. There has to be some sort of governance in place. I don’t want one of those anarchy deals going on.

So I figured out what type of government I wanted, and it fits with the society I built. I just don’t know how well I can write political conflict. Right now, the few chapters that deal directly with the politicians are superficial and flat. I’ll have a lot of revising to do with them to flesh them out and tie things together better. Right now they’re a big ol’ mess.

On the upside, I’m nearly 46k words in and have a good flow going (ignoring the aforementioned political poop I’ve been writing). The characters have been going through some tough stuff and I’ll have to write them out of it somehow, but the story is moving along and I’m enjoying it.

I still won’t finish the first draft by the end of the year, but I’m more optimistic that I’ll have it in the editing/revising stages by spring.

If I can only figure out the politics of it all….

Thirty five karat

OK, not really. But wouldn’t that be something? 

No, my 35k is a word count, and I’m at a point I didn’t expect to reach so soon in the story I’m writing. The narrative is still pretty much in the first act, but I’m at roughly the same word count that Whispers of  Death came out to in the first draft

It’s exciting, because that means I’ve surpassed my first attempt at a novel. Will I be able to finish this one? Probably not by the end of this year (my one and only goal for 2016 was to finish the first draft, but that’s not going to happen–then again, 2016 has pretty much screwed us all over in one way or another), but I think it will get finished. Maybe 2017? Maybe.

I’m ashamed to admit that I really don’t know what’s going to happen. I got my protagonist into big trouble and I’ve got a couple subplots I’m threading in, but getting the protags from here to … wherever they’re going to end up is giving me issues. I need to speed up the tempo; not enough is going on right now. There needs to be some action and movement. 

I guess they can sit in the place they’re at for at least another day or two … maybe while the protags are resting the antags will start some of their schemes in motion.

There ya go! Go back to the main antagonist, let him get going some more. Maybe by then I’ll have figured out what the protags are doing with their lives.

Gotta be more entertaining than what they’re doing now. Politics suck no matter what time period you’re in. It’s even worse that I have multiple political systems going on at once. Why can’t the future be simple? Oh wait, I’m creating this future … Guess I only have myself to blame lol

Here’s to hoping the next 35k go smoothly!

I can play at that game, too…

…Yeah, you know what game I mean. The I’m-right-you’re-wrong-no-matter-what-you-say-and-I’ll-argue-the-same-points-until-I’m-blue-in-the-face game.

This is why I don’t like politics. Nobody ever “debates” anything. It’s all digging trenches and throwing the same words like grenades, hoping to score a hit against the other side. And nobody truly wins.

Sure, there are “winners” in elections and whatnot, but nobody wins. Nobody. Somebody’s always pissed about something. Sometimes they’re just pissed because other people don’t agree with them. I mean, just think for a minute about how diverse the human race is. Just think about it. Billions of individuals in the world. Do you really think everyone’s going to agree about any one point? No. They’re not. So can’t we just cut it out with the bitching?

Again, no. Human beings are individuals, but they’re also stubborn and opinionated. We each think we’re right. But we can’t all be right.

So how about stopping with the bitching and moaning over politics? You’re not convincing anyone on the “other side” that they’re wrong and you’re right. You’re not accomplishing anything, except maybe a burning need to vent your frustrations–or your elation, depending on what “side” you’re on.

At this point, from reading the posts and tweets of both “sides,” I have decided that I’m on neither side. I’m on my side.

Does this mean I’m going to start bitching about how I don’t want to live here anymore, how I want to move to Canada or Britain or Mozambique or something to get away from it all? No. I’m not going to overreact. As of right now, yeah, things are bad for some people in pockets all over. I have friends who are affected adversely by the state of the “union”–and that’s putting it mildly. But it hasn’t gotten to the degree yet where I’m going to dust off my passport and start booking travel arrangements.

I’m going to sit down, shut up, and keep scrolling…because no matter what either side says, I’m going to be my own person and not let anyone else tell me how to think.

I said I wasn’t getting up on a soapbox, but…

…this is getting ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

People are tearing each other apart. Not literally, but damn near close to it. Maybe in a few days, weeks, months…maybe when America’s first orange POTUS takes office. I don’t know when. But it’s gotta stop.

I have seen dozens of friendships ended over this election, both before and after. No one wants to give an inch of ground in a nation where free speech is, like, number one. Way up there with freedom of the press, religion, etc. The founders of this country felt it was that important.

I get it. You might say you have the right to freely express your opinion by unfriending someone you’ve known and loved for twenty-some-odd years, and I’m not saying you don’t have the right to do it. I’m asking, “Is it right?”

Yes, quite a few people seem to have strong opinions on this election. Strong enough to break the bonds of friendship and even family. It’s really sad that this is how our “united” nation falls apart. The process didn’t work the way everyone wanted it, and now everyone’s in an uproar. Some people are in uproar over the results; some people are in uproar over the uproar. It’s insanity.

I voted third party. There; I said it. I’m sure several people stopped reading right there and unfriended/unfollowed me. Because I “stole” the election from someone I wasn’t going to vote for anyway–or “gave” it to someone else I wasn’t going to vote for. That’s the whole point of having third parties, to give us what we crave: choice. I didn’t want to vote for either major party candidate. Does that mean I have to choose the lesser of two evils just to please the masses? No! I have just as much of a right to vote third party as anyone else has to vote for T. or H. or freakin’ write in Donald Duck. That’s the system. It’s how it works, and I’m glad for it. Third party options gave me another choice. It was that or not vote, and frankly I was determined to exercise my right to vote. Not gonna let those suffragettes’ efforts be in vain.

I stood in line outside, in the cold, without a jacket (because I forgot to bring one to my 12-hour shift that morning) for four hours to vote. I stood in line another half hour inside to vote. I shivered. I chatted with the other people in line. Made silly faces at the little toddler in line ahead of me. None of us talked about who we were voting for, because it’s nobody’s business but our own. We got along. We were friendly. A very nice soldier offered me his coat even though I clearly weigh at least 80 pounds more than he does and would clearly never have gotten even one sausage arm through a sleeve.

That is how it’s supposed to be. Not all this infighting and protesting and hate speech. People being involved in the process and being accepting of others because it’s no one’s business how you choose to vote.

Okay, so maybe you advertised your vote across social media to anyone who would listen. That’s your right, too. Like I said before, free speech and all. However, if arguments start over that, it’s kind of messed up. Don’t like the candidate Uncle Joey says he’s voting for? Here’s a thought: don’t get involved. Most of us aren’t going to change our vote just because someone on the “other side” starts ranting about how “their” candidate is the “right” one. Starting arguments makes you just as much to blame for the division we’re seeing right now as the people you view as being divisive.

I’ve seen plenty of people giving the hard-sales pitch to try to get others to vote for their candidate. Did I unfriend anyone? No, but I’ll admit I unfollowed a few who were just too aggressive. Temporarily, mind you, and I didn’t unfollow anyone I’m close to. Mostly people I stay friends with to see how their lives are going, because my social anxiety makes it hard to reach out. Liking a few posts to say “Hey, I’m here. I pay attention to what’s going on in your life” is easier for me than actually picking up the phone and saying “Hey, I’m here. What’s going on in your life?” Just the way I’m wired. But if you’re shoving your politics in my face, I’m sorry–I’m not going to subject myself to that if I can avoid it.

It’s even worse now that the election is over. The divide is growing. It’s massive, and it’s terrifying. People on one side feel it’s okay to insult people on the other side for whatever reason. Sometimes it’s because they feel it’s socially acceptable to express their hate now (these people I admittedly would unfriend, but so far none of my friends who voted on that side are the hateful type). Sometimes it’s because they feel wronged by the system. Sometimes it’s out of hate, sometimes fear.

What can we do about it? Right now, a whole lotta nothing. This rant, like so many of the “T. won” or “I’m still with H.” rants on social media these days, will be read (or more likely glossed over) and forgotten. Some people may agree with me. More may disagree, and they’ll make their dislike known.

And, quite possibly, despite my mostly-neutral stance in politics so far, I’ll likely lose friends over this. People will be upset that I’m not getting upset, or perhaps upset that I’m getting upset that they’re getting upset. What? Exactly.

If you’re going to unfriend me now, I truly am sorry. Not for what I’ve said, but for the situation that makes you feel like that’s the solution.

I just wish we could all get along.


Story Fodder

I’ve decided to turn this election outcome–one I had not wanted to become reality–into inspiration for my dystopian WIP. Got thrown some lemons, so here I am borrowing a cup of sugar from the Muses to make lemonade. Or something.

Oddly enough, I had started world building with this very situation in mind. A “what if” of sorts, only now the “what if” is “what is.” It gives me a platform to base my story on, though the main plot of the story has nothing to do with today’s politics. It takes place over a hundred years from now, but the unfolding of events will give me plenty of inspiration to guide my future world into a place that could possibly exist, given the current state of affairs.

I’m not trying to be defeatist. Things might not go to shit right now, or even in a hundred years. This is fiction that I’m writing. That’s the beauty of fiction: it can be whatever you want it to be. I’m warping reality to suit my needs.

Which reminds me, I have to go back and put the political pieces that are a part of the story into their places in the puzzle. Not being a fan of politics in general, I’ve been subconsciously avoiding that very thing. Here I go, though, diving in keys first. 🙂