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Monday, February 26, 2007

Drayton Update

I've crossed the 38,000 word barrier just about a minute ago. The story's moving along toward its conclusion, but I can't guarantee that it will be done in time for the contest. Although it just might. For all I know, it'll be done tomorrow. At least in terms of this draft. There will be many hours of rewrites before it is somewhat to the point at which I can in good conscience offend the public with it. But it should be contest-good soon enough.

the shame of the whole thing is that I don't have the time to worry over each sentence and make sure the whole thing sounds right and feels right. The first two-thirds have received that level of attention and seem to show it. This last third may not reach those dizzying heights before March 15th. With any luck, somebody will pay me to fix that part later on.

At any rate, a boy can dream.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Some Things You Just Can't Let Pass

According to the Vice President, "We know that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength, they are invited by the perception of weakness." Like many things Mr. Cheney has said, I find that this statement is not only not something we know, it actually runs contrary to observable reality. Of course, reality is a location that is by its nature disclosed, so he has had little reason to visit it.

Let's look at some facts instead of just accepting broad platitudes, shall we?

Terrorists attacked us on September 11, 2001. Did they do so because they considered us weak? Since we were, at the time, the self-declared "world's only superpower," would it not seem likely that we were considered very powerful indeed? Is it not this very power--military, economic, and social--that scares the bejeebers out of those who would attack us? If weakness were the problem, wouldn't we see daily bombings in Monaco or Lichtenstein?

No. As usual, Mr. Cheney has the problem by the wrong end. He can't imagine a problem that can't be solved with the murder of a few more people. There are other points of view, and I find some of them compelling.

For example, I have recently had the privilege of visiting the King Center here in Atlanta and have had the opportunity to renew my acquaintance with that man's vision. He said many wonderful things, and here's one that speaks to a philosophy that Mr. Cheney will never understand. What Dr. King said was this:

* The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.... The chain reaction of evil — hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars — must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
o "Strength to Love" (1963)

This is the thing that our current leaders refuse to understand. The answer to terrorism is not war, but love. Social justice will do more to destroy al Qaeda than any number of soldiers and weapons will and will be a much more effective means of spreading democracy, if that really is their true goal. A nation as wealthy and powerful as ours has to develop the courage to try to see other nations not as possible subjects or clients, but as partners. We will do more to improve our security by raising others up than by trying to dominate or control.

Better economic conditions in Mexico and Central America would do much to end illegal immigration. Better economic conditions throughout the Islamic world would do much to undermine al Qaeda and other extremists. It is interesting to note that in England, where Muslims are economically disadvantaged and feel themselves oppressed, home-grown terrorists have sprouted to commit and plan terrible acts. Meanwhile, in the United States, where Muslims have prospered and feel themselves to be afforded open opportunities, home-grown born-Muslim terrorists are unknown.

In the course of the so-called American Century, the United States had only one, true foreign policy victory, and that was the Marshall Plan. By building our enemies up, we made them our friends. Prosperity is the greatest weapon we have.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

In a Land Far, Far Away

I just finished reading an article in The New Times that described a PowerPoint presentation that was made by military planners in 2002 concerning the allegedly-as-of-then possible invasion of Iraq. Once the planning reached an actual occupation and post-Saddam period, the slides were stuffed full of puppies and balloons. The biggest job left for our armed forces was going to be sweeping up the rose petals that had been strewn in their path on the way in.

And this is the problem with the current administration: They always plan assuming that things will work exactly as they want them to. It never occurs to them that things might go terribly wrong and that instead of paring the American presence in Iraq down to 5,000 soldiers, we would be "surging" up to 150,000.

Prudent planning always assumes the worst likely outcome. The sunshine and lollipops stay stored in a box until needed. And had a worst-likely-outcome assessment been made of invading Iraq, it never would have happened.

Let's just hope that someone somewhere with some sort of influence will apply the proper kind of analysis to the invasion of Iran that Mr. Bush is now plumping for. Remember: Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How Novel

Michael Drayton, Detective Guy is now up over 36,000 words. In fact, I've added more than 4,000 in the last 34 days alone. If I hadn't gone back and cut and rewritten a couple of previous chapters, I'd be even further along. (All numbers I give are net, not gross.) In fact, I went back today and trimmed Chapter 14 yet again--getting rid of some references to two characters who will never show up in this version--which leaves me only 98 words up, as of this writing, rather than maybe 250. But it's not about the word count, really, and I am trying to do a halfway decent job of it, even with a deadline looming over me.

Regardless, I will have a draft done by the middle of next month. If I can manage to work every day instead of 3 days out of every 4, I may even finish early. although, knowing me, it will probably involve a crazed, last-minute dash to an improbable finish.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Are the American People Ready?

There has been a lot of discussion, thanks to the candidacies of Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton for president, about whether the American people are yet ready to elect either a black man or any kind of woman. And even though there may be merit in asking these questions, there is another one that occurs to me thanks to a certain person's declaration of candidacy today. And that question is this: Are the American people yet ready to elect as their president some guy named "Mitt"?

I'm sorry, Mr. Romney. The answer is most likely, "not yet." Mitts are for playing catch, not for running countries, at least that's how it will play in the heartland (a land, which, by the way, runs from one coast to the other and top-to-bottom; we all live in the heartland). In our electoral process, qualifications are meaningless and interesting ideas can actually be a detriment. A good name and a good hairdo, though, these are the building blocks for power.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Novel Grows

I've just broken the 35,000 word barrier on Michael Drayton, Detective Guy. At the rate I'm going, I should have around 40,000 by the time I have to submit it for the contest. My plan is to continue writing somewhat carefully until March 1st. The last couple of chapters might turn out a bit sketchy, but they should get the point across.

All good wishes are gratefully accepted.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The current falderal in the Senate concerning the passage of resolution that voices some kind of opposition to the President's planned increase in troops in Iraq stikes me as being just more of the smallminded political jockeying that has come to dominate our legislatures. The Democrats have their eyes on the next election and perhaps the Republicans do, too. Or, perhaps, they are still in the habit of protecting a President who sell each and every one of them out in a New York minute if it suited his needs.

However, whatever the motivations, the machinations going back-and-forth amount to so much nonsense. Nothing of any substance or value is being proposed or defended. It's all about posturing and pretense hidden behind a smokescreen they label "principle." It's all foolishness.

This is what the Democrats think of as reform?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Jig Is Up

Well, the time has now passed in which all of the companies I have sent proposals to have begun operating in a new fiscal year, and I have not heard from a single one of them. I have not received even the courtesy of a rejection, just silence. Awkward, meaningless silence.

It would seem, though, that the only rational way to approach this would be to assume that no money or air time is forthcoming and that Next in the Series will not be moving forward at any time in the foreseeable future. While not dead, it is certainly in a coma.

I have, however, learned a few things through this process--a process that began more than four years ago. For example, I have learned something of my strengths and limitations. I have learned that my strengths are mostly artistic, and that I am not at all suited to the position of producer. Should someone appear somewhere down the line who had a flair for business and an interest in producing, I would be more than willing to pitch in with the writing, acting, and directing. Any and all who are interested should contact me care of this blog.

I have also confirmed that I am most fundamentally a writer. It's the core of what I do. I like sitting alone and sawing away at a manuscript. It's very fulfilling for me. I think I do a decent job of it, too.

And this speaks to why I am a lousy producer. Producers need to be gregarious and outgoing, two adjectives that are never attached to my name. A producer needs to be part salesman, part banker, and have a jot of accountant thrown in, too. I am none of those things. I'm the guy who likes to join words together in ever-growing groups in order to say to the world (or some small fraction thereof) "This is what reality is like for me. How does this match up with your experience of it?"

And so, I am going to concentrate on writing. I've been working on my novel, Michael Drayton, Detective Guy, with the hope of having a draft finished sometime this spring, with any luck, in time to submit to a contest being held on I've submitted a couple of shorter pieces I had hanging around to reasonably sized publications. I have a full slate of writing projects awaiting the time for me concentrate on them.

The work I've done on this show will not go to waste, though. I've identified some shows that are already up and running and out there that take unsolicited contributions. A script should be in the mail somewhere in the next week or so.

The question then becomes: What becomes of this blog? What becomes of the website? The website will just remain as it is. It's not hurting anybody.

The blog? I'm not sure. On the one hand, I'm trying to not give away my writing at the moment. On the other hand, it has its uses. I've always found, in the past on my blog and in others, that threats to quit are usually made at moments of distress and self-pity. Although I'm disappointed at the result of this project, I am not distressed. Despite the sobering effects of getting nowhere fast, I am not sunk in self-pity.

So, all I can say about this blog at the moment is, "We'll see."