Sunday, January 19, 2020

I’ve been staring at an empty screen long enough to just say “the hell with it” and start putting down whatever comes out. This is becoming a habit, this sort of lead-in paragraph, whenever I don’t have anything specific to write about. However, since no one is paying me, I don’t see a problem.

That being said, I wish I could figure how to make money out of this. I joked around Twitter than The New York Times could hire me for much less than they pay Maureen Dowd or Brett Stephenson. I write 5,000 to 8,000 words a week, I know how to put a column together and use decent grammar. Furthermore, I do this for fun. My price is negotiable, but I’d be willing to take no more than 30 grand a year to fill up space. That’s got to a better deal than paying Down six figures a year to embarrass the Times every week.

My brain is cloudy today. I imagine it’s because I stayed up until 4 a.m. playing Pillars Of Eternity II again. It’s a good game and I am in the groove. Still, I can’t stay up late and function the next day like I used to. It happened sometime in the past five or so years when I wasn’t paying attention. Towing 40 means it comes as no surprise, of course, but it all happened during a fairly regimented lifestyle within the last five years.

That’s the problem, really. I’m not really cut out for that kind of life. A bohemian lifestyle that comes and goes as it pleases has always suited me best and brought me the most joy. That’s where I screwed up with letting the writing thing grind me down to nothing like it did 15 years ago. I sometimes wonder if I went wrong when I left Gainesville because living was easy there. Of course, this was almost 25 years ago, in the heady late ’90s, after years of Reagan, nuclear threat, cocaine and AIDS but before 9/11 and the Bush Jr. experiment darkened the skies again.

Granted, it’s undoubtedly a case of my own political biases, but it always feels like coming back into the light once a Republican leaves office and a Democrat has to come in to clean up the mess. I’m simplifying, of course, and the cleaning is more of a dainty patting of a light cloth, but it sure felt that way during the Clinton and Obama years. And both of them were as guilty as anyone in continuing the American Ruse throughout.

In that way, I sort of envy kids who are teenagers right now. It is going to be a banger once Trump gets out of office, despite the damage he’ll do with another term. Some worry that America or Democracy or Freedom will crumble, but that’s like arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It’s also mainly because middle-class bourgeoisie white people are seeing how shit the Powers That Be treat most of the rest of the citizenry, and they will forget or ignore it like they always do.

Of course, we live in interesting times and the paradigm has changed. I came into my adulthood during the beginning of the Internet Age, and even though it was still in a niche back then, now it’s as common as television and newspapers. Momma was pitching a minor fit all morning because The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal was going to stop supplying print copies of their paper on federal holidays. They’ll nevertheless publish the online edition.

I remember attending a journalism conference when I worked for The Itawamba County Times nearly 30 years ago. The guy giving the main spiel said within 10 years the Internet would almost completely replace print newspapers. We’re still not there, despite the importance and prevalence of online versions of well-know newspapers and magazines. I don’t remember the last time I bought a magazine or newspaper than I wasn’t cutting my published story for a clip book.

Switching gears, that is one of my fears with however I can monetize this, assuming I ever do. The last time I had anything published was, best I can remember, 2005. I haven’t actually searched out a gig – and I know the job websites are Legion – but I got nothing show if people still ask for that. Lots of folks who remember me writing for the Times before I left home have suggested I go back there, but it wouldn’t be the same. Rubye Del Hardin sold it, apparently, and now it’s just an arm of the Journal. Besides, I really, really don’t want to have to interview anyone.

Still, I don’t know how or what sort of thing I want to do beyond this combination of News and Gibberish. Sometimes the News is just so disheartening and I would not want to do it every day even if I could. The Project is on indefinite hiatus and since I had the admittedly unformed, unoriginal idea for a Space Western-type story, nothing’s really percolated there. Hell, the Space Western is basically at the “slightly ripped off from Freelancer” stage.

Ah, well. That’s plenty for today. The Senate trial for Impeachment starts Tuesday and it’ll be interesting to see what shape the next 36-hour scramble from the Trump people will take. Willie Nash still needs our help. The rally in Virginia’s capitol tomorrow is going to be heavy, but let’s hope it isn’t as heavy as it could beAnd that’s all I got.

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