If … what then?

If - what then.jpg

If …

Every story, every book, begins with that word. Or at least every idea for a story, a book.

If a little girl lived in a town where black people didn’t get a fair shake, and her father was a principled attorney and a black man was falsely accused …

If an alien civilization placed beacons on our world millennia ago that could only be found and activated after we reached for the stars …

If a boy and a girl met and fell in love but not only their parents but their entire families hated each other …

If books went out of style and became so despised that fire departments no longer extinguished fires but actually burned illegal libraries …

If a little girl on a small Kansas farm dreamed of having adventures far, far away …

If adventures happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away …

If … what then?

That is how a story is found. That is how a story is told.

It’s so simple, in the end, this once upon a time.


Paranoia strikes deep

I went to the basement to empty the dehumidifier and saw my recently reassembled stereo system there. I pulled a record off the shelf, set it on the turntable, and played Judy Collins’ classic recording of “Both Sides Now” while I did my little chore.

The Smart TV sat quietly on the other side of the room.

Three hours later, I picked up my smart phone and turned to Google to look something up. Under the search bar was a link:

Watch the Tallest Man on Earth Cover Joni Mitchell’s ‘Both Sides, Now

Coincidence? I think not. Somehow the device knew that particular song was on my mind.

Our electronic toys see us when we’re sleeping, and they know when we’re awake. I’m pretty sure they know when we’ve been bad or good, so …


If I only had …


My two favorite movies (It’s A Wonderful Life and The Wizard of Oz) have a theme in common. George Bailey and Dorothy Gale both want to go out in the world and find great adventures over the rainbow somewhere.

In the end, though, they discover that what they needed and wanted was right in front of their eyes all along: Bedford Falls. Home.

6f00e-bedfallsend1Now: You want to go somewhere. You want something to be done. You see a better world out there waiting to be found or made. You’re frustrated – why is it so hard to get there? Why is this better world not happening?

Step back and take another look. Maybe you already have the brains, the heart, and the courage you need.

Maybe what you want is right here, right now, right in front of you, looking you in the eyes in the mirror.

The arduous task of showing up

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I have always been intermittent about feeding the blog, writing the Great American Novel, sorting my various surplus for eBay/rummage, and otherwise doing things that will not bear fruit or audience in the relative near future. Write a piece for tomorrow’s paper or a news story for an hour from now? Piece of cake. Edit an entire collection of stuff so it gets to the page designers and eventually the press by Time X? Sure, no prob.

But the longer-term deadline of a novel or the self-imposed deadline of a blog with a relative handful of readers that will only grow an audience with regular delivery over an undetermined amount of time? That is a challenge, as anyone who has attempted either task will know. There are millions more abadoned blogs and unfinished novels than thriving ones. We need more immediate gratification, and toiling away in the dark takes a certain discipline.

As attention spans get shorter and shorter, we may find people neglecting projects that will not bear fruit or audience in the next hour or two, or the next few minutes.

Hmmm … somewhere out there among those neglected and abandoned blogs there likely are remarkable bits of writing waiting to be mined, collected and placed in a spotlight. That might be a fun project for someone someday …

5 thoughts after binge-watching Netflix’s The Defenders

1. That was one wild ride.

2. Eight episodes is better than 13. Everyone got significant time and good moments even with five fewer hours to cover the ground.

3. Stay through the closing credits for a trailer. Hey, it’s Marvel, even on the small screen.

4. Yeah, after six series of Marvel TV universe, I still like Jessica Jones best. Her show, the character, I’m eager for more.

5. One thing: Comic book villains always, always talk too much so the good guys can come to the rescue just in time. But if we were in it for realism, we wouldn’t be watching stories about bulletproof, impossibly strong people, would we?

Brands of my kid-dom

Brands of my kid-dom web

I looked at the logo on the coffee cup I use a couple of times every week and started thinking about how some brands and people take me back to being a kid every time.

That elongated S for Studebaker transports me to the days I always rode in the back seat with my two brothers. Dad bought a succession of Studebakers through the 1950s and mid-60s, sold on the company and the trusted Werner dealership he favored. I remember how foreign the back seat of that 1965 Ford Galaxie felt.

There are few brands that feel so linked to my childhood – but there are a few. Continue reading Brands of my kid-dom