Can We Cool It A Little?

This Kitty Cat in Europe Cares Nothing for Your Politics. Trust Me On That.
This Kitty Cat in Europe Cares Nothing for Your Politics. Trust Me On That.

I’ve resisted posting anything here about American politics for a long time. I used to, but then I got serious about writing, and I’ve focused this blog in that direction almost exclusively. <This is not a rant. Sorry.> I have expressed opinions, mainly on Twitter and Facebook (if I post on one, I post on both automatically.) But I’ve tried not to make egregious insults about anybody. Except maybe the President since that Charlottesville incident, but even with him, I’ll say that he volunteered for a job I wouldn’t take for all the gold in Fort Knox, so mostly I’m not going to get personal about him. A lot of people, though, do get very personal indeed, and therein lies the Great American Problem.

See, anybody, be they (to use common pejorative terms) libtard or mouthbreather, (I’ve read both recently) is a person. I am not about to take some limp Liberal stand about freedom to believe whatever you want. That’s obvious. Heck, if you kept it to yourself, you could believe whatever you wanted in Berlin in 1932! What I am saying is that applying those pejoratives is, in itself, a major part of the problem. Libtards are people. Mouthbreathers are people. Black Lives Matter, and those Nazis at Charlottesville are people. The Hispanics in Phoenix are people, the Hopi are people, every single human being is a person, and the only way we are going to get through the current nasty ass situation is to remember that. And yes, in fact, Donald Trump is a person, too.

I am not saying that I’m okay with what Trump does, or what anybody does, but everybody deserves the basic respect that we give to any person. That’s what this country is based upon, and that’s what we all have to remember. Most of Trump’s supporters are not White Supremacists.  Most of his supporters are people who don’t believe that they’ve been listened to by the past several administrations. And, yes, they do act against their own best interest at times. So does everybody. They are certainly out of touch with Objective Reality, as are we all.

You want some Objective Reality? Here you go:

  • We are all, every single one of us, going to die. There is no verifiable evidence that any vestige of life continues for us after we do.
  • Life is here because of Newton’s Laws of Thermodynamics. Without life, things would continue getting more and more complex here on this fine planet. Per those laws, this cannot happen. Life, though, moves complexity along toward entropy, thus obeying a law of nature.
  • There is nothing verifiably special about humans in comparison with other forms of life. But we do destroy complexity at a brisk pace, don’t we?

That’s all pretty bleak, frankly, and whatever your political views, you spend a lot of time making yourself forget about those facts. Why do you suppose there are vegans? Because eating plants is less likely to remind one of one’s animal nature, and the fragility thereof. Why convince yourself that you’re going to live forever due to intervention by a divine being? Because living forever gets you completely away from those horrible facts!

I made a comment on a post by Facebook God that slammed Trump supporters with a pejorative term. I said “This Doesn’t Help.” And it doesn’t. Trump Supporters are people. The same applies to those slamming “Liberals.” It doesn’t help. We all believe lies that reinforce the way we wish the world to be. We reject any evidence that argues against our world view. What we need now, is a strong dose of moderation. Compromise isn’t evil, it’s how a successful society functions. Nobody gets what they want, but everybody gets something. Yes, that does mean that we all have to live in a less than ideal world. But if we can’t compromise, we may none of us be living at all.

Remember, those people you consider your enemies? They’re people, and you need to treat them with respect.

Reunion Too

In My High School. I went on to major in Biology at BGSU.
In My High School. I went on to major in Biology at Bowling Green State University.

Being a writer by vocation, I could not do a thing such as attend a class reunion (50th) without connecting everything about the experience to telling lies, er, stories. Fifty years after we graduated, I learned some interesting things. For one thing, my high school was, and is, a mid-century modern masterpiece. See my previous article for details. Also, my old friend Gwen, whose hair I apparently pulled on in a class one year, told me that I seemed taller. I’m not aware of having grown since I was a Senior in High School, but, as I said to her, I have grown in other ways. Out, mostly.

And then there was the shock when Evelyn, who I always liked as a classmate, told me that I “hadn’t changed. Still always laid back.” What? Laid back? I was continuously worried in High School. Was my zipper up? Was I ready for that test? Do my friends really like me? How do I get up the nerve to ask <insert co-ed classmates name here> to a dance? But, according to Evelyn, who I always thought was a decently intelligent girl (she still seems reasonably so) I was “always laid back.” I made a joke (my response to stress) about that being due to a lack of internal energy, but really I was trying to fit that impression into my own impressions of High School life, and my own state of mind during that time.

And thus we have a lesson in Characterization.

Especially if writing for High School age readers, one must remember that your protagonist, or any character, will disagree with everyone else on how they feel or act. In fact, this, I imagine, continues right through one’s life, so that I think that we can expand the target audience and say that any character will disagree with all of the other characters on matters of comportment, feelings, and actions. Okay, you figured that out years ago. Sorry I bothered you. Guess I’ll go back to my little keyboard and punch in some more drab prose . . .

(By the way, is that the proper way to use an ellipsis?) 🙂

See what I mean? My overactive imagination already told me that I’m not saying anything that anyone else hasn’t figured out in their twenties. So, I’m nervous about even posting this article. But, I am going to, because I know that you, dear reader, disagree with me on the value of, well, anything. Something to keep in mind while making up lies about fictional people, huh?

***

Looking for solid advice on Characterization? Check out The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes, by Sue Viders, Caro LaFefer, and Tami Cowden. Tami Cowden has also written a companion volume for villains: Fallen Heroes: Sixteen Master Villain Archetypes.

The Rom

A warning to sensitive readers:  This post describes the ceremonial killing of pigs and contains two images of pigs involved.  After festival night #1, we watch the billowing glow of the volcano and sip a glass of wine in Sonrisa’s cockpit.  Then, I drift off to sleep.  I dream of stomping

Source: The Rom

Vacation

The Beautiful Ohio River. To the Left, the Monangahela, to the right, the Allegheny. This spot is in what is now known as Point State Park, Pennsylvania.
The Beautiful Ohio River. To the Left, the Monongahela, to the right, the Allegheny. This spot is in what is now known as Point State Park, Pennsylvania.

I have now seen the headwaters or source of three great rivers. The Mississippi, at Lake Itasca, where I stepped across the mighty river on stones, and had a drink of the water straight from the stream. (I like to live dangerously at times.) The Colorado, the source of which is away up in Rocky Mountain National Park, in a series of streams and rivulets that empty into Grand Lake. And  now the Ohio, born of the confluence of the Monongahela  and Allegheny rivers in Pittsburgh. Strictly in terms of water, the Ohio is the most impressive, but Rocky Mountain National Park, well, wow!

I took time last week to attend my 50th High School Class reunion in Tiffin, Ohio. I didn’t write anything, so in keeping with that general theme, this post is not about writing. Everybody needs a little time off, right?

Amongst other things, I took a tour of my old high school, which is still there, and still in excellent condition. It opened in 1960, I first attended in 1964. Amazingly, it looks just as good now as it did then. One thing I did not appreciate at the time is that the building is a mid-century masterpiece. Here’s a look at the main hallway.

The main hallway at Columbian High School. Could have been taken in 1964, was taken August 11, 2017. The blue walls with the orange stripes are the restrooms, which were remodeled and improved, but decorated with matching tiles.
The main hallway at Columbian High School. Could have been taken in 1964, was taken August 11, 2017. The blue walls with the orange stripes are the restrooms, which were remodeled and improved, but decorated with matching tiles.

The auditorium (not shown) is exactly as it was, which is both amazing and, frankly, sort of sad. My real sadness, though, is that the planetarium died, and was converted into a teacher’s lounge.* Not that teachers don’t need a lounge. Oh, mercy, they do! But, I dearly loved that planetarium.

And, a mystery was solved. Study Hall was, and is, in room 201. Every time I’ve encountered a room 201, something has nagged at the back of my mind, as if 201 is a significant number. (Don’t know that it is, objectively.) But when I saw the old room, and the number 201, the mystery was solved! I spent many hours, mostly happy ones believe it or not, in 201. No wonder I like that number, huh?

Of course, we didn’t have water vending machines. (In the teachers’ lounge you can get the usual sweet stuff, but none for the students.) But other than that, it looks about exactly the same.

Which, of course, it isn’t. The Principal told us that they have an aviation program from which one graduates not just with a diploma, but with a pilot’s license. Some students (the brightest ones, I’m guessing) attend college while enrolled. They have several programs to intervene with at risk students to help them graduate, which actually succeed. Nice stuff. If you’re thinking that the state of education is bad, you’d have to think again if you toured Columbian.

Oh, yeah, there was a dinner, too, and I got to meet with some of the guys I used to hang with. Nice, that.

You can check out my old school on Facebook here, or at their website here.

*A classmate told me that he installed the hanging ceiling in that lounge, and that it wasn’t easy. I believe him.