Confetti #10

These are FB posts of mine from various threads. They are, in effect, little mini essays in response to what the thread presented. Though they are also self-contained thoughts.

Contrary to the assertion that addiction is correlated to intelligence, in fact the unintelligent part of it is failure to recognize that every second spent drunk or high sabotages the mechanisms & strategies needed to cope with life’s vicissitudes. Nor is insight into the vagaries or unfairness of society restricted to the cognoscenti. It takes humility to understand the hazards & seductiveness of addiction’s escapism. But humility is strength, while the belief that addictiveness is the province of the “intelligent” is arrogant & sure to continue it’s grip.
I know. I’ve been in both places.

Confetti #9

These are FB posts of mine from various threads. They are, in effect, little mini essays in response to what the thread presented. Though they are also self-contained thoughts.

I get that on occasion too. I “use the language,” meaning my speaking (and writing) vocabulary tends to be more wide-ranging than what people are used to hearing. I’ve been accused of carrying a thesaurus around. I refuse to accept I use any words not generally understood, nor will I pander to some inchoate, populist demand to sound like a regular guy. Some people can shoot a smooth jump shot; I can speak well. Deal with it.

Confetti #8

These are FB posts of mine from various threads. They are, in effect, little mini essays in response to what the thread presented. Though they are also self-contained thoughts.

Dale, very thoughtful sentiments. But I think they leave a factor out of the equation (with which you may disagree.) It is this: men & women are different. We may share many traits common to both, but many are different. Nor would I stereotype & my comments are intended to generalize. Of course there outliers in any effort to talk about gender traits; nor would I argue nature vs. nurture. Given those caveats, my point nevertheless is that, 1) differences are real; & 2) they are internalized by we as individuals as well as by culture. Can a particular female character be a leader, strong, tough, etc? Of course, just as a male character be the opposite of those things. Yet, IMO, women tend to be strong & tough in different ways than men, & express leadership in different ways, & while such differences should be honored, it is a mistake to depict them in ways more characteristic of men. In that sense, many roles are not interchangeable, & to try to make them so will not sit right with the gender being aped or the gender aping. In other words, the reaction will be, “A woman wouldn’t do that…” Ditto males. Matters of style, temperament, risk-taking, goals, hierarchy, etc. tend to express differently as between men & women. So in our zeal to create equality, let’s not throw the baby out w/ the bathwater. Or am I wrong?

Confetti #7

These are FB posts of mine from various threads. They are, in effect, little mini essays in response to what the thread presented. Though they are also self-contained thoughts.

There is a deep satisfaction in knowing we have strung together words that may comprise thoughts, evoke feelings, or present images in such a way that has never been done before in the entire history of mankind, and told a story that elucidates the human experience in an aesthetically satisfying way. If that ain’t art, nothing is. BTW, we can’t not do it.

Confetti #6

These are FB posts of mine from various threads. They are, in effect, little mini essays in response to what the thread presented. Though they are also self-contained thoughts.

LaSasha, I do understand the rationale, but as a writer (& person) not given to stereotyping, as well as a writer whose own experiences & impressions are no less valuable than the characters I write, there is no way I’m gonna ask anybody’s affirmation for what I present. But in fairness to your p.o.v. on the subject, it is true that many do not share my fair-minded heart, & who arrogantly believe they can write of other cultures yet rely on stereotypes which could be taken as insulting. Finally, 2 more things: 1) when I write a character outside of my own direct life experience, I am writing about THAT character, not his/her group; 2) IMO, about 80% of life experience is shared by ALL people, no matter race, class, gender, sexual preference, etc., e.g., despair, joy, love, hate, tribalism, etc. So when writing a character of a group different from mine, I try to keep stuff w/in that 80%.

Confetti #5

These are FB posts of mine from various threads. They are, in effect, little mini essays in response to what the thread presented. Though they are also self-contained thoughts.

I just returned from the Creatures, Crimes & Creativity Conference (C3) where I connected with many of my favorite writer colleagues. While conferences provide many practical benefits, as did C3 and its fabulous crew, most writers would agree the best part about them is after the business day, convening over a few pops, trading stories. What causes the magnificent glow almost universally felt from these sessions? At the risk of undermining my thinly disguised but carefully cultivated macho-guy persona, I will say it: The L-word. Love. Rapport among people who make art, who are so compelled we don’t know how NOT to do it. Artists whose canvas is stories and the alphabet their brushes. People of vivid imagination, highly articulate people, deeply caring people, mostly seriously educated people, soldiers constantly battling rejection yet silly enough to awake in the middle of the night over an adjective or image. We struggle to do what we do; we struggle to become better and better. We find deep meaning in our creative endeavors. Non-writers, non-artists, have no idea how difficult making art is, how much time it takes and the investment of energy and mind-expansion required to do it well. But we know it. We all share it. It’s never overtly said, this L-word. Instead the glasses clink, the stories fly and we retire for the evening happily entertained, grateful for the bonhomie of such gifted people & their stimulating conversation in an uncommonly non-hierarchical setting. So, many won’t say it, but I’ll say it: I L-word you guys.

Confetti #4

These are FB posts of mine from various threads. They are, in effect, little mini essays in response to what the thread presented. Though they are also self-contained thoughts.

Perhaps by self-appointed literary cognoscenti, but to assume any kind of bright line between genre & literary is intellectual malpractice. At their extremes, you can say literary is where not much happens but a lot goes on, and genre as evoking the question: what happens next? The reading experience is broad, and joy, pleasure, intellectual satisfaction, thrills, profundity, etc. do not exist in a hierarchy.

Confetti #3

These are FB posts of mine from various threads. They are, in effect, little mini essays in response to what the thread presented. Though they are also self-contained thoughts.

Rebecca, your point is really interesting, especially for writers. Here are some random thoughts… Emotions are essential for survival value, deep brain stuff that allows us to reflexively respond to threats real or imagined; even positive emotions like love serve that purpose, e.g., allow us to bond with mates and communities—again, important to our survival. How much emotion is appropriate? IMO, that’s a function of our rational mind’s perception (read: measure) of threat. Also, the expression (release) of emotions are cathartic when emotional pressure has built up to such an extent it may induce irrational behavior which, again, is counterproductive to survival. Given that we must exist with mates & society, we all strive for emotions felt and expressed which are appropriate to the circumstance though there’s a large subjective element to that—what frightens me may not frighten you and vice versa, or what we love…etc. The trick is to train ourselves to the extent possible that the feelings we have and express are consonant with a “realistic” measure of the stimulus in front of us. A lot of that is rational, e.g., we’ve looked under the bed enough times to know nothing is there but sweatsocks and dust bunnies.

Confetti #2

These are FB posts of mine from various threads. They are, in effect, little mini essays in response to what the thread presented. Though they are also self-contained thoughts.

Trouble is, too many people conflate “faith” with “church.” Churches are institutions run by people, as such, are vulnerable to all the vagaries of the human condition. On the other hand, the best part of church is to guide us into faith, sustain our faith, provide rites and rituals and theological and moral insight gleaned by millennia of priests and rabbis and philosophers who study such matters. But also, as we know, many church leaders and members are all too “human.” Faith on the other hand, does not depend on church. It is a simple recognition of a higher being that is all powerful and benevolent, and to whom we “pray” when we are troubled, and in so doing, become comforted. We of faith believe it is a gift, and I, for one, pray that mine stays strong since it has served me so well in so many ways. Sometimes I wonder if we are god, meaning there is some unknown part of ourselves, our psyches, that contains the cumulative wisdom of all who came before us and is available to dole out guidance and comfort. Or if it’s not ourselves who are god, then it is within us that God resides.

Why I Love Shawn Cosby’s Work

Raw. Raw fear. Raw rage. Raw passion and love. Real life. We don’t read a book, we feel it. Or don’t.

Shawn Cosby’s work gives us the life that feels rather than the so-called writerly “showing”of bit lips and drumming fingers, mere mini portholes to the soul covered by translucent shades lest anybody be uncomfortable. They’re intended to guard against vulnerability and be acceptable to a crowd equally alienated from its own feelings—strangers in a strange land of the head in which abstract thinking is a substitute for living, yet as insubstantial and ephemeral as a synaptic pulse. Such characters, be they writers or fictional or Fred next door, bore; their inner landscape is moon-like with interesting mountains and valleys but ameliorated by layers of dust feet thick.

I have argued against death-of-the-novel rhetoric by claiming it to be the best art form to capture the human experience in all its complexity, its scope amenable to getting to the inside of the inside of the inside. I try to do that in my stories. So does Shawn. He does it really well.

So keep going, my friend, because when you’re on the right track, every station you go by is the right station.