Death by blogging…

For my avid readers (all three of you?), no I am not hinting of anything related to my mortality.  But, “One never knows, do one?” (Fats Waller).

After the attack on the WTC (9-11), my ability to write creatively just suddenly stopped.  I found myself, voluntarily, caught up in the anti-war movement, and creative writing just seemed to take a distant place in my ranking of importance.  For years I felt this way, and in spite of attempts over those years to break out of that quagmire, writing attempts that went nowhere, dampened by the continuing sickening news of death, mutilation, PTSD, civilian casualties and displacement, war, mayhem and terrorism (let’s remember one man’s terrorism is another man’s overt strike, e.g., a drone with Hellfire missiles on a wedding)…..well, I just could not bring myself to begin to write about something that was not serious, and yet I was just sick of “serious.”  Do you feel me?

Then, not too long ago I began to feel like I must force myself to sit down once again, and write.  Life is short – I finally had to admit to myself.  So, I started this blog, and just in the last six months I have self-published a few small non-fiction books (available on Amazon).  But once again I am finding it so hard to push away the thoughts and images of the slings and arrows of our political, and generally societal at large, landscape.  There seems to be no news outlet that is not engaged in debating the daily shifts in this terrain…because it is so important….but god don’t we all need some fresh air?

I was born about four score years after the American Civil War, and until 2016 I could never have dreamed the foundation of what it means to be “America” would begin to fracture again. I thought for the longest we might be finally escaping our past divisions and angst, coming together to address common threats like global warming or exploring space, feeding the starving and “all that.”  How wrong I was.  Now we are literally in a “civil” civil war once again…there is no way to deny that, and anyone who scoffs at that I say, “you better look deeper.”  (Note that when I say “civil,” I am not over looking the bloody violence committed by domestic terrorists.)

Our country is being consumed by the “perfect storm.”  A consummate ego-maniac was elected due to the amplification of factors that individually would not have resulted in such as travesty:  egotism of the Democratic party machine, an outdated electoral college system built on gerrymandered districting, neglect of our heartland and our once burgeoning industrial cities and the thousands of small towns and rural folk, the failure of our education system to teach citizens how to critically analyze information, xenophobia inflamed by poverty of large swaths of America, outright racism, the selfishness of the major social media corps, the degenerate state of politicians within in D.C., and the failure of government to protect against cyber attacks by malevolent actors (e.g., Trump’s best buddy, Vladimir Putin).  Had any one of these factors been neutralized, we would not be in a civil war today.

Now we are faced with a highly divided nation, so divided it has wrecked marriages and families, just like the bloody Civil War did, and I fear it could easily get much worse.  We have a man occupying the presidency who knows no limits, recognizes no restraints of law or norm, will do absolutely anything to remain in power and have All the power, who has infected Washington with a fast growing carcinoma.  It is obvious he will use every trick in the book, supported by those who are too blinded by hate, or too greedy to care about the principles of our very nation.  He will not be impeached, and even if he loses the 2020 election (which certainly is not a foregone conclusion) he will not vacate the White House peacefully, for he knows prison and the collapse of his finances await him.  Inauguration day, January 20, 2021 may turn into another day of infamy for this country.

Notwithstanding all this bullshit, I will continue to blog – till death do us part – and give free reign to my mind, allowing it to roam as freely as I can given day to day matters, and moreover, abide in the firm belief that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” (Theodore Parker).

Concluding, I know this nation will get through this.  We have met and beat all other fiends, and we will beat this, even though a large part of the fiend’s protoplasm is within our collective self.


Why not write that book?

I thought that today I would choose a really easy topic for me to write about, one that I hope also will encourage and inspire readers to take that step toward publishing their own first book.  For decades I have had some books turning pages in my mind, all wanting to come out.  I started two or more books writing by hand, and later on an old word processor (pre-dating PC’s).  I researched how to self-publish, researched “vanity publishing,” and each time just threw up my hands, feeling in my busy life I did not have time to do all this “stuff.”  I just wanted to write my books, push a button, and get them on the store shelves!  All those years I published nothing other than a small printed book about Ritual Male Initiation, which went nowhere.  I was really stymied.

I had known about Amazon’s Kindle for quite a while, and “print on demand,” but again I was just too wrapped up in my career and other of life’s distractions to pursue it further.  However, having retired recently, I had time to really look closely at “how to” publish using Amazon’s KDP platform, and after some experimenting, and several trials and errors (which with me is a continuing process), I was amazed to realize that even I could do it – publish my own book all by myself!

I now have two new loves in my life:  Google search and Amazon self-publishing.  I use Google although there are others available as you younger readers certainly know, but these two things have literally opened up new doors for me as I move into my elder years.  As an engineer for some 50 years, I always used my mind everyday for hours, and then when I retired, I wanted to push the gas pedal of my brain but I had no where to go.  Now I do.  Between this blogging (which I really enjoy, and enjoy just for the sheer delight of self-expression, whether or not anyone ever reads my posts), and my new-found book writing/publishing “romance,” I am as happy as a pig in slop!

So let me close by just saying that you too, if you have a good PC or laptop, and a good internet connection, can also step confidently into the book world.  It is EASY!  If any readers have questions, perhaps I can help, so just contact me, ok.

And, oh yes, the photo above:  this is the cover of my latest book, Texas Jazz Triangle, A Historic Nexus:  My Love Affair With The Music, available on Amazon, along with a few others I have happily published.  The singer in the photo is my late wife, Shirley Tennyson-McFatter, who passed 25 years ago.  You can see and hear more of her on my You Tube channel (Joe McFatter).

Peace be with you all today, and always!