Happy, um, New Year

Hopefully you’re enjoying the warm glow that comes with a New Year. All the hopes and possibilities of a better year lay in front of us all. This is as good a time as any to dash them.

I don’t intend to be mean, but there’s nothing quite like a political and constitutional crisis looming to put a damper on the festivities. And boy, do we have a good one in the works.

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Pakistan and Kenya are burning. The war in Colombia continues to simmer. Political violence is simply another tactic in some systems around the world.

Here in the USofA we don’t have that problem, at least right now. We have had our spasms of violence from time to time, but they have generally been confined locally. I had a chance to see the McDuffie Riot of 1980 in operation, an event that was sparked by the police killing of a man who made two mistakes: sassing back to the cops and being black.

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Recently I tried to bring up the most important subject in writing, or at least the most important one I can think of. No, it’s not really about the metaphysical concept of a “Human Condition” or other esoteric stuff. I’m interested in why people buy books in the first place. After all, without that income stream there’s not much point in having a publishing industry.

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Why Do They Read?

Why do people read?

It’s more than just the bookend to a my previous question, “Why do we write?” Someone who is going to call himself or herself a writer will ultimately need readers to make that appellation stick; even Emily Dickinson found an audience posthumously. The readers are the customers, the people that pay in the money that make the whole prospect of a writing biz possible. What do our customers want?

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Christmas Morning

It’s Christmas morning, and all is indeed calm. The animals and my partner and I snuggled under a warm blanked until rather late, doing nothing but lie there in the stillness of an extended family of mammals. Four cats, one dog, two humans – all had warmth to share.

Eventually, we all felt an urge to wander around and look for amusement. August, our Westie, had to make his trip out in the snow. That accomplished, our noble white sentry was awake, and had to drag everyone out of bed. It was time to start the day.

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S. Claus, C-14

I recently learned that my youngest child still believes in Santa.

This might take some explaining. I have a strict policy of never lying to the kids about anything. They either get a straight answer to a question, or a reason why they won’t get a straight answer. Being a divorced father, however, the determination of my kids’ mythology isn’t entirely up to me. “Mythology” is the nice word for “lies”, or more accurately “lies that reflect the way we have decided to look at the world no matter what reality has to say about it”. Not that I’m bitter.

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Darkness and Light

It is dark outside, a combination of the shortest day and a deep, mystical fog. The usual 8 hours and 41 minutes of daylight we can expect has been snuggled under what feels like a ground-hugging cloud, akin to being tucked under a warm blanket.

This is the end of the year traditionally. The new year should begin at Solstice, as is the ancient European tradition, just as the day begins at midnight. The only reason it doesn’t is that the Romans used a calendar, the Julian, that was off a bit by the time Pope Gregory XIII got around to revising it and everything moved ten days. No matter. The world since the Renaissance has always been what we decree, not what we see.

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