Exorcising the bogeyman

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My experience is that people just want to carve out a niche, to make a living, to enjoy this life, to to seek a better live, to live and let live. Everything goes fine until it doesn’t, and it’s usually the bogeyman’s fault – except it isn’t.

Who is this bogeyman? He comes in different shapes and sizes. Once upon a time he was an evil villain or monster used to scare children into staying in bed where it was safe (more or less – also to be avoided was under the bed!) – and as time went on, we find that politicians and less subtle warlords use bogeymen to create fear and anger. We also use bogeymen of our own making to scare ourselves into not venturing forth into new territory.

Sometimes, though, we take steps despite the fear of the bogeymen. We actually go off to fight the bogeyman and discover he is really a creature much like ourselves, as the fighters in World War I discovered when they had a spontaneous Christmas Truce and interacted in comfort and joy until the holiday ended and they went back to the butchery.

One person’s bogeyman, carefully examined, is usually just some other person trying to carve out their niche – if you look without fear and hate, you find not bogeymen but just folks trying to live and let live.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we all looked around and discovered that the bogeyman never existed? Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t blame anyone for our troubles (except maybe ourselves) and instead took those troubles and just worked through them?

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A writer of stories and encouraging words

I never took advantage of my bully pulpit as small-town newspaper editor to promote the books I have written over the last eight years or so. It didn’t seem fair to leverage that audience when others had to buy ads to do the same.

But now that some of that audience has followed me here, wondering “What happened to Warren? What will he do next?” it behooves me, as young Chris Carter does at the end of every X-Files episode, to declare, “I made this!”

I promise I won’t engage in blatant advertising every day. This website is mainly the place where I deposit fragments of thought and potential stories, and offer some encouragement against the rampaging tides of Dark Silly that threaten your calm every day.

When I sat down some time ago to create a personal mission statement, the words that emerged were short and simple: “I am a writer of stories and encouraging words.” And that is the mission I aim to fulfill every time I sit down at this keyboard. Continue reading

That moment when you realize you’re being lied to

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(with grateful thanks to George Orwell, H.L. Mencken, Dr. Seuss and Joss Whedon)

Winston Smith sat in a corner where he was pretty sure the telescreen couldn’t see him, and he wrote in a journal. He questioned whether the vision of reality that came from state-controlled media was true. The more he thought and the words flowed from his mind and fingers, the angrier and more frustrated he felt, until he realized he was writing over and over, DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER. DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER.

Are human beings brutish and violent at their core? Is there nothing, when all veneer is stripped away, except violence and hatred? That is what they would have us believe – or perhaps: That is what they believe, and so they appeal to our hatred and the dark corner of our souls that most of us keep in check but some of us exercise in the most horrifying ways.

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Refuse to be Afraid 2016

Refuse to be Afraid - printTired of the fear mongers? Ready to plow through the nagging doubts and outright fears of various sizes and shapes that are keeping you from living your best life? Eager to take the leap into that new job, start that new business, or meet that person you’d really like to know better? What’s keeping you back?

That’s the opening of the blurb for the revised and expanded edition of my book Refuse to be Afraid, now available for Kindle apps and in paperback.

Why revise and expand? Here’s the new introduction:

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100 words scribbled watching TV ads

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New windows! That’s what we need – that will solve everything!!

A new mattress! That’s what we need – that will solve everything!!

A new car! That’s what we need – that will solve everything!!

A new pill! That’s what we need – that will solve everything!!

A new senator! That’s what we need – that will solve everything!!

A new president! That’s what we need – that will solve everything!!

A new movie! That’s what we need – that will solve everything!!

 

What will solve everything? Not one thing.

Answer the call. Do your stuff. Get started. Get it done.

Be. Just Be.

It’ll get sorted.

 

Getting real: WhoGAS

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A wise man, teaching me how to write news stories, said the key question the reader asks is WhoGAS – who gives a (darn). Why? What does this matter?

WhoGAS? What’s the point? Why does this matter? Why should you care, dear reader?

We are all passengers on this giant spaceship we’ve named Earth, and we have no control over where it’s going – none.

But we each control one little patch of flesh and blood that we’ve been entrusted to caretake. Working alone or in consort, we can convince others, help others, guide others, but at the heart of it all, we only control this little patch of flesh and blood. That’s all the power we each have, and perhaps – probably – that’s all the power we need.

The point – why you should GAS – is that the power to change/improve your life is in your hands. Yours. not mine. not your partner’s. not your parents. certainly not some person you never met and doesn’t know you. certainly not some group of people organized as a corporation or government. They can persuade, bully, cajole, threaten, but they. cannot. change. you.

They cannot hurt you, and if you have been hurt or feel hurt it’s because you let them. or because you turned control that is rightfully yours over to them.

Grab the wheel. Take the helm. Live your life. Your life, not someone else’s. The one you choose to live. The life that makes you real.