Sunday, October 28, 2012

Here We Go Again

Just before an important Presidential election and just before the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (November), here comes Sandy. We don't know just how big a storm he (or she) is going to be. They are calling it a monster, which is oddly appropriate as it is almost Halloween. Gallows humor, I guess they call it.

We've already been to the store and witnessed people stockpiling everything from cases of bottled water to cans of gasoline, presumably for their generators. We unfortunately don't have one, but many people here in the country do. If our power lines go down (with what they predict, this is almost guaranteed,) we won't have well water or light. Fortunately we don't need heat right now. We made what preparations we could and are hoping for the best.
Here in New Jersey we've had some unpleasant storms and I'm not looking forward to another one. It is a helpless feeling to just sit waiting. Even though we are sixty or so miles inland, a deluge of rain and wind could wreak havoc here. I like my trees and don't want to see them destroyed. Also, a bad storm could knock out power for quite a while. No power, no computer which is a horrible thought. I suppose I could hook up my laptop to the car but then my wireless connection will be out. If our main library is open though, later on,  they will have wifi (hopefully.) I know it is useless to just sit here and mope and wail and bemoan the coming maelstrom, but I just hope it will be over as quickly as possible and let us get back to normal without anyone being harmed. Sandy, if you have any Scottish blood in you, pass over our wee house and spare us!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Go Vote

I was a political science major at Hunter College in the early 1960's, just before John F. Kennedy was elected. It was a time of feeling hopeful about politics and excited. That, of course, is natural for young people. They feel, in a way, that the world starts with them, and in a way they are right. For each generation, the world begins again.

I remember the President's call to young people to "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Have we lost this idealism now? I wonder. I think my generation was idealistic, but it was not naive because we had grown up with parents who had experienced the effects of the Depression and we ourselves were small children in the World War II years. I think we knew what evil was and the sorrow of terrible loss and what men and women can do to each other. But we had real hope and the faith of a better world. I recall my middle school class in the late 1940's singing the song "One world, built on a firm foundation, built on a firm foundation of peace..." My school was only a few blocks north of the UN building in NY. Maybe only for a brief time, we had that peace. We were to learn that war never ends, only too soon. It wasn't long until the Korean War escalated.

But when John F. Kennedy was elected, he brought a feeling of newness again to the highest office. He was courageous, a war hero from World War II, and his wife was beautiful and drew the attention of the nation to culture and art. During those  years, the Peace Corps was established, encouraging young Americans to go forth into the world and work to make it a better place, and they did.

I think myself, that is the genius of America, the faith in this nation that it is the best nation in the world, and the generous spirit of its people. May that never change.

Read the Federalist Papers, if you want to know the thinking of the Founding Fathers.

And go vote.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Doing the Nano

The Nano is not a new dance. Nanowrimo, as it is known, is short for National Novel Writing Month. It takes place every year in November when anyone who wants to challenge themselves will sit down and attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days.You don't get a reward other than a pat on the back and the right to put a "Winner"  plaque on your website. For a writer, though, just getting through 50,000 words is really reward enough. That's what we all want, to get those words down somehow. You can imagine those hundreds of people all scribbling and tapping away every day like industrious little mice chewing through the walls. Some meet up and commiserate with each other. Others just suffer in silence. It's not an easy thing to torture your brain into letting loose of those ideas and hammering them into words.

Nano doesn't require you to be good. All it asks is that you write. Then later you can admire your work, toss it, or sit down again and polish it, correct it, change it. Nano challenges all those procrastinators who tell themselves they are going to write something someday. Nano says, well now, just go on and do it. See if you can. You don't know until you try.

So, even if what you wrote isn't that great, it is something. And it might become something better someday if you keep at it. Keeping at it is what Nano is all about. And they encourage young writers to get started. To find out more, you can go to