Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch...

**Oil companies made a killing off of Katrina and Rita. True colors showing through here. Profit at any price, even human lives. You know, it would take only a small percentage of those profits to completely rebuild the Gulf Coast.

**A deal to renew the USAPATRIOT Act and make it permanent may be in the works. The deal includes some important limitations on the use of "national security letters", which allow the FBI to obtain "administrative subpoenas" for phone, financial, Internet Service Provider, and library records without showing probable cause or informing the person under suspicion that these records are being subpoenaed. This provision has been my biggest problem with this act all along, since it is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment prohibiting search and seizure without due process of law. No one is bove the law, not even the FBI.

**Chronic kidney disease is much more likely to develop in overweight and obese people with high blood pressure (hypertension) than in those of ideal body weight, according to the results of a large study. Well, duh! We paid good money to find this out. Jeez.

3 strikes, I'm outa here!

A Room of One's Own

Fear.

I know about fear. We're intimate friends. Many years ago, I joined Charlie Brown among the ranks of the pantophobic. I'm afraid of things real and imagined, sublime and obscene, from A to Z, alpha to omega, soup to nuts, bad to worse. If you ask what I'm afraid of, I'll reply "What'cha got?" and straighten the shoulders of my black leather jacket.

Everybody's afraid, it's just that some of us are brave enough to admit it to ourselves. A few of us will even admit it to the world at large. Fear is a survival instinct that goies back millions of years. Fear kept our distant ancestors alive. It's an ingrained part of our make-up.

There is hope, though. Each of us has within us a place that is wholly us, a place where we are absolute masters with absolute power. We carry our "room of one's own" within us. When things gat bad, or appear to, as is so often the case, I can retreat into my room for a little while. In there, I am safe. Nothing can touch me. A few minutes there makes all the difference. When I feel overwhelmed, I can find my courage there, waiting with infinite patience and deathless loyalty.

Courage.

Courage and I have had a rocky relationship throughout my life. It's always been there, I just haven't always recognized it. Courage is one of the absolutes in this world. It's up to us to see it and use it. That's the hard part. Fear is blinding and paralyzing, keeping us from seeing reality. Recognizing that and finding that room deep inside is the key to overcoming fear.

Many people think of courage as charging a machine gun with only a rifle and a hand grenade or leaping into an icy river to save a drowning child. Those are incidences of courage, sure, but we cannot forget to give ourselves credit for the courage to live every day. Courage is not being unafraid. Anyone who claims to have no fear is delusional. The best definition of courage I can think of is: courage is taking one more step. Courage means moving forward in spite of the fear.

Courage is writing when you know the words will hurt. Courage is writing when you know the words suck rotten eggs. Courage is writing on days when you have nothing to say. Just one more step. Just one, that's what courage is.

Congratulate yourself for having the courage to live. Pat yourself on the back for having the courage to write. Celebrate the strength that allows you to pick one foot up, move it foward, and put it back down. Give yourself a medal. You've earned it.

Monday, November 07, 2005

That's What I'm Talking About

Got a rejection letter from a major magazine in today's mail. The editor APOLOGIZED for taking so long to respond and promised to do better next time. It has only been about 9 weeks since I submitted the story, and their guidelines do not specify a particular return time. I was prepared to wait at least 16 weeks before querying. That is what I mean by being consciencous and professional. I will be submitting to them again in the near future.