Friday, April 5, 2019

Firing Blanks, Comic Relief, and Other News

Writers sometimes get into a funk where they churn out bad product. That has been the case for me, recently, and I have aborted or discarded my most recent attempts. Meanwhile, I am still thinking, creating, and dealing with personal matters.


When the world is full of bad news and emotional stress, I find that I become annoyed more by the little things, and take out my frustrations on matters of little importance, like television commercials. Conversely, I can be too eager to put in my two cents on something like the Mueller report, for which I have little information to be making any assertions. So there you have two posts that you will not be seeing any time soon.

The "thought cud" I am chewing on now relates to how the structure of economies mirrors that of ecosystems, and those aspects that differ between the two. Also on my mind is the notion that there is no such thing as a naturally occurring pest. That has book potential, would help inch me out of typecasting as a "bug writer," and stimulate some serious conversations about how we treat other species and each other.

On a lighter note, I have registered for another stand-up comedy workshop, this one in Colorado Springs, this summer. It has been almost twenty years since I last tried this, in Tucson. The results can be seen on YouTube:

I now have enough new material that I can pick and choose what works and what does not, and now it will come down to arranging and polishing. Comedy demands excellence in writing, so it is a great exercise for me as a writer, too. I would rather not perform it, but it is worth remembering that if you do not perform your own material, then you are not finishing the job, and it might never see the light of day otherwise. Write for someone else, and you risk that something gets lost in translation.

Income tax preparation is still staring me in the face, too, complicated by the transfer of my late father's estate into my name, the many changes for the worse in the tax code, and a relatively dismal year in earnings. Filing extensions might be my best friend this year.

The greatest recent stress should be a great joy, but it gives me angst instead. We bought a Leavenworth, Kansas. Not the "big house," but I still worry that it will seem like incarceration once we move there, probably in a year or two. My wife's parents live in Leavenworth, and we want to be closer to be able to see them happily into their golden years. This I am fine with. My in-laws are wonderful people. The other factor in our decision is that housing prices in Colorado Springs are increasing exponentially. There is no way that we could afford an upgrade out of our current townhouse in the....neglected, shall we say, part of town.

Our new and future house

Leavenworth is church, prisons, and fort, pretty much in that order. Churches form the social foundation of this small town. Prisons are responsible for whatever constitutes their tourist economy. Fort Leavenworth furnishes much of the population and drives the business sector. These are three aspects of life I do not like. Religion is a human institution fraught with the same problems as business and government. Prisons symbolize the mass incarceration of minorities. While I support our troops, I rarely agree with the missions they are deployed to, and almost never with military policy and the wasteful Department of Defense budget.

Downtown Leavenworth, Kansas

Talk about a sense of misplaced, I fear I would feel completely alone. My wife has spearheaded the house hunt and put in the majority of work in the whole transaction process. I admire and appreciate her resourcefulness and resolve. She is not dragging me kicking and screaming through this, but more like heaving a limp body, heavy with resignation that this is going to be his destiny, like it or not. Ideally, I would rather live in southern California, or maybe one of the Mid-Atlantic states. It isn't the beaches, it is the vibrancy of people, the off-the-scale creative communities that draw my dreams there. It is the progressive nature of politics, the vastly greater appreciation of the natural world.

Now? I just finished sorting insect specimens from Miami for the Yard Futures project. Next up is....Los Angeles. Ah, what might have been.