Friday, July 7, 2017

The Superior Race

Sunni Maravillosa made the remark years ago that she was "vaguely aware" of who Wolf DeVoon was, because we were both published by the same weekly webzine, along with Pierre Lemieux, Tibor Machan, Objectivist renegade Billy Beck, and many others.

I mention it because I was "vaguely aware" of who Ilana Mercer was, until I began to poke around on Facebook recently. I was delighted to discover that she has the gift of sparkling speech, and it prompted me to search for video, to hear what Mercer sounded like. She was fascinating in several respects. I felt like I had part of my brain removed, and I'm not entirely certain that I could hold my own with Mercer in a debate. Ann Coulter? -- no problem -- but the mercurial rabbi's daughter from South Africa > Israel > Canada, who advertises herself as "paleolibertarian" in line with Walter Block and the Auburn mafia led by Lew Rockwell, is a force of nature, as spectacular as a midsummer lightning storm.

I agree with much of what Ilana Mercer thinks and says in print or video. However, she made a podcast remark that went past the pale and drew blood. I don't doubt that it was offered as honest recitation of fact, but it deserves to be discussed. Explaining why all of George Bush's neocon foreign policy advisers were Jewish (Wolfowitz, Pearle, etc) the magnetic Mercer was unruffled, said that Jews held prominent roles in government and other fields because Jews are superior beings. Forgive me if I failed to quote her exactly, but Jewish superiority came through loud and clear to my simple goy ears.

As an admirer of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman, okay, I can roll with it an inch or two. Jewish heretic Baruch Spinoza gave me a moral commandment that should be chiseled in stone: "All things noble are as difficult as they as rare."

But that's it. Everything else Jews have done in America has led to ruinous pain, especially in foreign policy, monetary policy, investment banking, psychiatry, publishing, conservative talk radio, network television, and filmed entertainment (my special area of interest).

I don't doubt that Jews are superior beings. Prof. Joseph Juhasz gaily pointed to the fact that practical engineering of atomic weapons was done entirely by Hungarian Jews -- "the Chosen People," he explained. Not making it up, Joe said it to me and meant it.

Ashkenazi Jews score higher than Asians on IQ tests, top of the food chain intellectually. They are clustered in New York, Philadelphia, and Hollywood, deciding who works in showbiz, who gets published, and who doesn't. There is a pipeline from Mossad to CIA, Congress, NSC and the White House. Israel sets our foreign policy. Krugman and Krauthammer are superstars.

As a descendant of Prussian-French blockheads, I have a difficult time holding my own with sparky Jews. It took me forever to divine a simple proposition: "Justice is the armed defense of innocent liberty." Not a hope in hell it will undo the damage done by Rawls and Rothbard. I've taken it on board that my work cuts no ice, sells no books, and will die when I do.

That's fine, no problem. But what Jews did to Hollywood is unforgivable.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Ugly Side of Anarchy

Conservatives are alternately disgusted and worried about young "anarchists" throwing rocks at cops in Berkeley and Portland. That's small potatoes, not a big problem.

The narcotics threat is infinitely worse. It took a strike force of 600 Feds and local crime units to round up 60 hard guys who were paid-up members of the East Coast Crips network, most of them wanted for serious felonies, connected to a NY prison gang. Multiply that by 20 states minimum, thousands of killers still at large, coast to coast. Add MS-13 and five or six Mexican cartels. There may be as many as 100,000 dangerous men on our streets, armed to the teeth, cash flow positive from drug dealing. They have a million retail customers, each of whom has to commit petty crime to fix an addict's craving to get high, or at least stave off the nightmare of withdrawl another day or two. Maybe another million are involved in the meth scene and widely-prescribed pharmaceutical opiates, some reckless morons using both.

It's difficult to estimate the number of Americans who smoke pot, maybe 20 million. These geriatric gentlefolk are easy meat for the DEA, but harder to find and not much of a public threat. Ditto millions of drunks, most of whom are employed, driving buzzed and texting a pal for laughs. Add them all together -- hardened gangsters and addled dopes -- it's perhaps 33 million (10% of U.S. population) on the wrong side of criminal law and sobriety. The impact on women and children is horrible. They suffer grievous harm financially, psychologically, and often physically. Many are destined to become permanent wards of the state.

That's not the BIG problem -- however awful drug and alcohol abuse are.

We're dumbing down the next generation at an alarming rate, a combination of "education" in American schools and endless waves of obscenity in mass media, digital connectivity, and propaganda emanating from public servants and political operatives. Many tens of millions have been hosed with hate. Their children are being raised with the conviction that America is fundamentally evil, by reason of our (somewhat) free market in finance and (somewhat) splendid military strength. Folks are apt to over-estimate how strong we are in reality. Seven of our ten aircraft carrier strike groups are in port for repairs. The Air Force is flying antique fighters and tankers. We need replacement equipment and new recruits for a U.S. Army that did too much with too little money. There are never enough Marines.

Americans are confused about who's doing what to who, specifically with respect to politics and retail democracy. Foreign powers have little impact on us. Hollywood and New York are homegrown threats to the general welfare and domestic tranquility, broadcasting evil day and night, 24/7/365. It doesn't matter whether the sauce de jour is Donald Trump, or a college sport gab fest, or the latest excuse to get high on big screen "entertainment," or crime news, sanitized to conceal a one-sided race war that's decidedly obvious and that no one wants to discuss. Much easier to feel wronged by law enforcement, courageous people who put their lives on the line to defend us, an increasingly impossible duty. It escapes notice that cops are hamstrung by paperwork and due process, spend much of their time testifying in court after a lonely shift answering calls for domestic battery, directing traffic around a car accident, while deeply worried about stopping a stolen car because odds are they'll have to kill or be killed. The life of an LEO is nonstop horror and boredom, dealing with drunks and dead babies, gang wars, raving lunatics, theft, shoplifting, fistfights, stabbings, and noise complaints.

It's important to understand that cops and U.S. military are few, about two million -- vastly outnumbered by bureaucrats, government contractors, public school teachers, doctors and nurses poorly compensated by Medicaid, Medicare, and VA appropriations. We have more postal workers than cops, a larger army of municipal garbage collectors and janitors than soldiers and sailors and airmen. Public service comprises about 40% of economic activity, if you count all the IT people involved in making government more complicated and expensive than it otherwise might be.

Does all this government achieve anything?

Yes and no. Compliance with regulations and tax accounting kills American jobs, makes us dependent on China for cheap goods, reliant on imported oil and foreign bondholders. It's nice to be "the cleanest dirty shirt" of global finance, to cover our endless stream of public borrowing and government largesse. As goofy as it sounds, U.S. Treasury instruments are considered good collateral that can be rehypothecated and leveraged, employing thousands of traders who get to skim a nice seven-figure annual income, come what may, from "dark pools" of derivatives estimated at $1 quadrillion in notional value. Hard to grasp that it's all built on Treasury debt that cannot be retired and keeps growing in size, not including our unfunded entitlement problem and a hopelessly bloated Federal Reserve balance sheet.

The positive aspect of fat U.S. federal, state, and local spending is an illusion of Normalcy, some success in assuring the American people that cops and firemen will respond when you need them to clean up a relatively small tragedy. National Guard part-time citizen soldiers can be deployed to deal with big problems, hurricane, flood, or race riots. The government is ready to handle a lot of pain, albeit too little too late to save anyone's life or property.

Does it make sense to spend 40% of our productive output on government?  Oops, that's the wrong question. It's a fiction of economic theory that government spending is a component of notional Gross Domestic Product. In reality, the private sector (60% of GDP) is 100% of our productive output -- and even that's exaggerated by incomes paid to finance, insurance, and real estate scalpers. So, productive work struggles to carry the "sterile" half of GDP -- and fails to cover the total cost of lavish bureaucracy and entitlement payola. That's why government has to be deficit financed, issuing more and more debt each fiscal year. States and localities are caught in the same trap. Higher taxes kill job creation, put more people out of work.

All perfectly dire, no way to turn back the clock and put government on a diet -- however, that's not the worst of our troubles. American liberty (anarchy) is a widely spread fabric of American culture, shared by federal, state, and local government workers, because they too are private citizens just like us, determined to be as free as possible in the direction of their lives, who to marry, which home to buy, how to feed and clothe and amuse their kids. They get sick, visit the doctor, attend churches and support charities, mow the lawn, no different than anyone else. Working for a government agency doesn't make someone less anarchist or more responsible at home. They drink. They watch TV and binge on chili cheese nachos.

THE UGLY TRUTH

The fundamental problem with American anarchy, all of it, from career criminals to the cops who try to stop bad guys, is our universal displeasure in facing facts. We became addicted to flattery, brainless amusements, and sleepy indifference to American history.

Let's discuss flattery first. DId you invent iron smelting, steelmaking, internal combustion, interchangeable parts, mass production, fractional distillation, and ten thousand other ideas that put an affordable vehicle in your driveway? -- nope. Did you invent radio, television, semiconductors, digital processors, packet switching, or liquid crystals?  -- nope. Most of the stuff we use in daily life was an international effort involving basic science and industrial technology that evolved over centuries of trial and error, capitalism, competition, and wars for possession of raw material, especially oil, rubber, copper, bauxite, magnesium, nickel, zinc, titanium, etc. Wars were fought over food and water, fruit, transportation corridors, religions, and something as stupid as animal pelts. You stand on the shoulders and buried corpses of hundreds of millions of warriors, thousands of scientists, tens of thousands of crackpot inventors and ruthless stock market frauds. It's still happening today, stock market manipulation in particular. Pensions and individual investors are going to be kneecapped again, depend on it. There is a quiet trade war underway for scarce rare earth metals. Your individual contribution to prosperity is zero, no matter what your job, and the purchasing power of a buck is subject to change without notice. Not that long ago a "buck" was the skin of a male deer. Doe skins were "half a buck." Could you feed yourself without the grocery store supply chain, mechanized agriculture, and imported oil? Don't flatter yourself.

Brainless amusements are so thoroughly familiar and comfy that it's almost impossible to imagine life without pro sports, movies, TV, digital games, smart phones, and social media. None of it is necessary (like food and water and sanitation are). None of it makes you any smarter or wiser. Without advertising, it all collapses, and advertising is the first thing to go in a deep recession. Same thing with higher education. A degree in sociology or urban planning is worthless if the public purse snaps shut. Folks have lost sight of what the "business cycle" and "reversion to the mean" imply for discretionary spending on Star Trek conventions, binge viewing, multiplayer fantasy warfare, gay nightclubs, and elective cosmetic surgery. You are one paycheck from losing that leased Camaro or F-150. Government jobs have a little more security, but fun and games vanish for everybody in a deep recession.

That's why American history matters. We're living in an era very similar to the Roaring 20s, or rather at the end of it, fantastically inflated market values. Uber has never made a penny of profit, and they burned through $4 billion. Same thing with Amazon, microscopic margin and loaded with unpayable debt. Ditto shale drillers, automobile manufacturers, airlines, casual dining, department stores, malls and specialty retailers. Most gas stations are independently owned no matter what the sign says in front, and they squeak by on convenience store sales of cold beer, overpriced potato chips, cigarettes, lottery tickets, and watery fountain drinks. A big dip in sales (or a flash mob of looters) would be enough to shut their doors and turn off the gas pumps, lay off the minimum wage staff. Same thing at McDonald's and Burger King, barely profitable with bargain menus during boom times, unsustainable in a crash.

The last time we had a serious recession was NOT in living memory, unless you're 100 years old, which means you were 11 or 12 years old when the market crashed in 1929, old enough to understand and remember. For the rest of us, it's a question of American history. The crash was an overture to ten years of truly awful widespread poverty and hunger. Maybe we're in a different situation today? -- okay, maybe -- but I'll remind you that the Great Depression was the cause of worldwide war, which sounds particular terrifying today because so many nutso dictatorships have (or can easily obtain) nuclear weapons.

So. The ugly side of anarchy is not so much what might happen next, but rather how we got ourselves into this mess. Americans voted for bread and circuses. No one forced it on you. We became accustomed to the best of everything, available for the asking. You don't even have to work at a job. Crime pays. Social Security pays and Medicare pays. SNAP and welfare benefits pay. I hope you know that 2/3 of federal spending is mandatory "entitlements" that can't be cut without public outrage, instantly voting into office a socialist Congress to spend and borrow our way back to the American Daydream in defiance of reality -- because a bad recession at home means economic disasters abroad. Foreign bondholders will cash in their enormous stack of Treasury bonds, while we're trying to sell more. It's a solid concrete barrier to sustained or increased domestic spending to fend off pain during a recession.

What to do about it is simple. Use your liberty to prepare, and for heaven's sake please stop watching television and bitching about Donald Trump. He had nothing to do with LBJ's Great Society, Carter's Community Redevelopment Act, or Obamacare and expanded Medicaid. It is undeniably likely that a crisis will bring another silver-tongued FDR to power, so watch out for bank holidays and public works programs, defunding military strength and readiness.

And worse, the 1930s multiplied gangsters, armed with machine guns, paying graft to cops and Democrat political bosses. Bad idea to relocate to Chicago or Philadelphia now. Detroit is already destroyed. Baltimore is next, no crisis required, and I worry about Newark, Queens, Brooklyn, and Los Angeles.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Laws of Nature and Nature's God

It was wonderful to be born in the United States, and like most kids of my generation I said the Pledge of Allegiance in school, one Nation under God. I was compelled to attend Sunday School and catechism class in order to be confirmed in a Protestant church, more or less in the tradition of the Founding Fathers. My education pertaining to the American Revolution was idealized, a Declaration of Independence and Washington crossing the Delaware.

Later in life it became interesting and important to study everything more closely. Pilgrims purchased slaves and captured Indians to trade for more slaves. The Revolutionary War was a financial and political disaster. Everything the Founders did turned to crap, especially in the Federal Convention of 1787. Supreme Court decisions went from bad to worse, decreeing that Indians were in a permanent condition of pupilage and Negroes were inhuman. It led to Civil War with nearly a million casualties; cost five times the GNP of 1860. Worthless paper money, income tax, wars to grab territory and force trade, domestic regulation of commerce and power to compel obedience in matters of private life all flowed from the Civil War.

I made a special study of the Gilded Age. Railroads were financed with European loans and a ludicrous "curb market" for worthless securities. Conspiracies of money and corrupt politics opened the door to another bout of civil war, pitting farmers against bankers, consumers vs. producers. The Supreme Court held that the police power of Congress was an unlimited writ of arbitrary will. Regulatory agencies bloomed, liberty ring-fenced and strangled.

It's not unnatural to seek the genesis of that result. I came to see that it was one phrase in the Declaration of Independence, "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God" that entitled us to form a government of our own choosing. Quite a claim when you think about it. Signatories to the Declaration believed themselves competent to understand God's eternal blueprint.

I made a close study of natural rights doctrine and came to despise it. Far more important to the evolution of a just society were the interests of children, our "innocent posterity" as the Declaration explained, a specific justification for war. Eventually it was expanded to include the welfare of women and children worldwide. We sent missionaries, diplomats, armies of conquest and occupation, foreign aid. At home, every state, city and village created schools to educate children and supervise their moral development. The story of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn was a saga of truancy and delinquency. In the 1930s, it was The Dead End Kids, in the 50s and 60s a wave of fashionable beatniks and smiling hippies. No matter what our government attempted to do for children, it led to woe. Today's situation is hopeless and irreversible, a nation of digital zombies and precious snowflakes crying for a "safe space" in college. Millions are employed in street crime, obscenity, socialist agitation, and fantasy roleplay, given a blank check that broke our economy and punished productive enterprise. Entertainment is not a productive industry. Neither are armies of teachers, politicians, and drill sergeants.

In reaction to the modern mess, roughly one-third of America has pledged allegiance to God again, loudly devoted to scripture, prayers, "young Earth" geology, and the defense of Israel no matter what it costs, as if Israel was our 51st state, more important than the other fifty put together. In desperation, evangelicals voted for Donald Trump.

Our innocent progeny have never been so ill-served. Talk radio host Dennis Prager proclaims that we are in another civil war. He's an old man, a true believer in myths: E Pluribus Unum, One Nation Under God. His rear view mirror is a kinescope, gazing at Ozzie and Harriet, can't see what happened to Ricky Nelson, one of the disgusting delinquents who dishonored his parents and the Obedient Generation of television households, advertisers, NFL football, and Thanksgiving dinners. Today, Prager announced happily that Trump is "a conservative dream" -- which is true, but not in the sense that Prager meant. Donald Trump is a TV personality, no different than Barack Obama. Trump's presidency is toast because he's not Obama.

It's folly to bemoan ignorance or denial of Natural Law and God-given Rights. They have zero weight in legislation, merely an empty gesture in the Constitution that prohibits religious tests to hold public office, which is universally honored in the breach. No politician dares to admit that he's an atheist or freethinker. Paul Ryan was compelled to disavow Ayn Rand.

Worse -- power politics rule the world, and we're outnumbered by those who have no Judeo Christian God to complicate their aspirations. The only way to prevail would be nuclear war, incinerating their innocent progeny and our own, a final and irreversible farewell salute to Nature.

World map according to population by BoAML

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Public figure

So, how does one become a Public Figure? I'm scared to look at who else Facebook thinks are public figures, although I noticed Donald Trump on the list. Trump has millions of "likes" and "talking abouts." Wolf DeVoon has one. I liked myself. Zero seemed tragic. Maybe it's a clerical error. A stupid Facebook computer hiccoughed, and I'm a Public Figure by mistake. I won a lottery. Tomorrow it'll be someone else who's equally obscure. Honestly, I find it baffling. Google seems to think I'm a novelist, although that, too, seems a little strange. I only wrote five or six novels, all of them VERY obscure and self-published, rock bottom on Amazon's bestseller list. Google Books picked them up by prestidigitation, a word that I enjoy using as often as possible. Library Thing shelved a couple by mistake. Maybe I was quoted a lot. Quotes.com seems to think so. It's quite hard to grasp that people know about me. I did a radio interview recently, and I was introduced like a famous person, a "libertarian icon." Apparently, a lot of libertarians thought I was dead, because I haven't said much about it recently, busy writing novels -- nor is there anything else to say about liberty and justice. Whatever I knew about it was published a long time ago, got noticed perhaps. Makes no sense that Facebook designated me a Public Figure rather recently. I spent part of my day today considering how to spend my last $20, and the stupid dog qualfied for a $5 item on my shopping list. I also weed-whacked another acre to beat back weeds and invasive wild grape vines. Hell is neither hot nor cold; it's festooned with razor-sharp wild vines. Is that what Public Figures do? -- fight weeds with half a roll of plastic string and a remaining quart of gasoline? Whacking an acre of hemlock, broadleafs, clover and tall stickers revealed an enormous assortment of fallen branches I need to gather and stack on the burn pile. That's the exact meaning of "windfall" -- picking shit up, often requiring a chain saw. Last season, a massive thorn tree fell, after a hellacious storm. Took a month to cut it up and haul rounds to a concrete pad behind the tin barn, already overloaded with oak and walnut and sycamore. I made a substantial pile of firewood by punching a road through the forest and bringing 7000 volts across the road and up the hill five or six hundred feet from another direction. Ha! - famous for windfall and bulldozing. Huge mess, you wouldn't believe how many men and machines it took to clear a 150 ft x 12 ft driveway plus a cleared building site for a little house. Had to be done, to get the concrete trucks in. An infinity of 2-inch rock delivered by double-axle dump trucks to harden the road. Famous for spending too much money. Certainly notorious for blowing through $30K on credit cards, all of which are max'd out and credit score annihilated. Seriously, down to my last $20 of cash. That's why I have to sell my car -- to eat, take the dog to the vet again, buy some heartworm pills, do something with his bad eye. I do NOT want him to suffer major surgery again. Last time I took him in, the nitwit vet pulled most of his teeth, which I did not want done. Poor guy has a heck of a time eating anything bigger than a morsel. I tell him he's a good dog. Old and disfigured (like I am) the dog can't earn a penny. When he was young and strong, he could have won a show. Public Figure? -- bah. No money in it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Characterization in signature work

I've created a lot of fictional characters over the years, many of whom I liked and respected. A few were modeled on people I knew, supporting characters whose personalities were frozen -- well, that's a bit harsh, let's say inflexible, unable to transform. It happens in life to most people. Their formative battles were fought long ago, and it shaped how they think and live. All of them deserve honorable mention to acknowledge their strengths and sorrows. It's important always to treat a character with respect, even the tawdry ones, the bit players and stock figures -- tailors, waiters, uniformed cops, cab drivers. Little glimpses need to be three-dimensional and real. It's never wrong to be honest about where they are in life, how they move, talk, think, hide themselves from others. Characters who transform, undertake challenges and put their future at risk, are "principal players." There is no story without such people. Some of them are heroic men and women, some are dangerous villains. It's possible to see virtue in a villain, no different than a hero with inner conflicts and limitations. I'm speaking mostly of male characters. Women seldom deliberately do wrong, although it's good to see the extreme and exceptional. One of my favorites was a film star -- Ophilia Opfir -- always outrageous, mercurial, a comic figure. Now that I think of it, all of my women were wonderfully complicated. The Good Walk Alone had several female characters, no two alike, vital to the story line. In Mars Shall Thunder, Wendy and Emma Churchill played pivotal supporting roles, far more important than the men. Leading ladies are important to me. Sorry, that's an understatement. The Good Walk Alone is Janet DiMarco's story. Mars Shall Thunder is Laura Oak's story. Chris is nothing until he meets Peachy in A Portrait of Valor. Chris and Peachy are the subject of this essay. For the rest of my remaining days as a writer, I will author stories about them, as they mature in life as a married couple. It's interesting how they emerged in a tutorial of screenwriting on Zoetrope, to explain a method of organizing and creating scenes. Movies usually have 40 scenes. It's not important to start at Scene #1. Scenes can be written out of sequence, if you have a good outline, each scene with a unique dramatic action, no two scenes alike. The method of organizing a movie using Scene Cards is something that I was blessed to get from a profoundly talented mentor a long time ago. It's explained in Screenwriting Form & Structure, and there's a video on Vimeo that shows how Scene Cards are useful in story rewrite, to identify and resolve problems. To demonstrate Scene Card logic, I offered to write a screenplay out of sequence. Members of my private office at Zoetrope could pick a number, any number, from 1 to 40 in a story outline, and I'd write that scene to a budget of pages for that particular scene. Some were simple and quick, others were long dialogue scenes, or tense action, or lonely monologue. No two scenes alike, remember? The result was a completed screenplay called The Case of The Empty Case, and it introduced Chris Cable, private detective, and Mary Blount, Ph.D., a spectacularly stunning babe he orders to scram, go away, while he's dealing with a suitcase bomb parked in front of his office door. He doesn't know her name, calls her Peachy. It wasn't supposed to be a good story. It was a practical demonstration of a movie structure, how to conceive and execute individual scenes. Years later, at a watershed moment in my writing career, I thought of Chris and Peachy again. They deserved a series of novels. I risked everything to do it -- personally, financially, artistically. I don't regret it, although I doubt that Chris and Peachy will be well received by readers. I'm writing purely for myself, something I felt drawn to do after 30 years of storytelling, some of which was work for hire, a polite term for prostitution. It became important to give Chris and Peachy a voice of their own, in honor of their exceptional lives and exceptional challenges. A narrative novel is supremely expressive. Every word matters. I cringe whenever a typo or an ill-chosen word appears in print, self-published. It's humiliating to be self-published; I do it to archive the work. Others can make Kindle or POD successful. I can't. Please don't offer suggestions about marketing, or writing popular material in well-grooved genres. Chris and Peachy matter more than money. Christopher Cable, P.I., is a better man than I am, far more complex, far more courageous. He was an only child born into a military family. His birth took his mother's life. His father was a stern naval officer who became a powerful member of the Deep State, if you know what that is. Chris was raised by colored servants, if you know what that is. He went to Ivy League prep school, a sprig of privilege. He spent summers in New York with show people, his mother's clan of Broadway actors, dancers, musicians. When he was 18 years old, he was accepted in Marine Corps Officer Candidate School to honor his father and follow in his footsteps. Combat changes people, always, and Chris fought with courage that could not erase sorrow and guilt and revulsion. He hated killing. As an officer, his duty was ever-present and clear, ordering men to their death and dismemberment. Rising to the rank of Captain, partly on merit, partly because his father pulled strings, Chris couldn't continue. He resigned, changed his name, and fled to Los Angeles -- a disgraced black sheep who abandoned his duty and his father's iron sphere of influence and expectations. Ex-military is where most of our cops come from, and Chris had friends in L.A., ex-Marines who went into law enforcement, well-paid private surveillance, and medicine. None of those jobs were right for him. Chris couldn't deal with fussy paperwork or take orders, especially an order to do nothing, to drop a case, let the guilty skate because they had political pull. When the story opens in A Portrait of Valor, he's alone, lonely, miserable, age 38, jailed for killing a man, which he regrets but was compelled to do, to save a crowd of laughing drunks and doped-up chicks at a Hollywood nightclub. Terrible karma. The man who hates killing, forced to kill as a licensed private eye, working alone, financially strapped, hardened to life, expecting nothing but trouble. Not handsome, covered in battle scars, Chris cleans up every night and tries to be cheerful, drinks in nice nightclubs and dinner joints, hoping to meet a single woman his own age or thereabouts. He's ignored, night after night, year after year. Enter Peachy. I don't think I want to talk about her, a truly exceptional woman among women, beautiful, brilliant, elder daughter of a billionaire nuclear physicist (a horrible father), turned her back on wealth and made her own way in the world, a Stanford Ph.D. plugged into Silicon Valley. Wonderful couple who saved themselves for each other, wouldn't settle for less than ideal romance, astounding sexual chemistry, risking their lives for each other repeatedly. This is the glory of heroic fiction, to paint the beautiful. What other people write doesn't matter.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A writer with no readers

I recently completed another novel, my fourth or fifth, I think. They sit atop several volumes of nonfiction and a pile of original scripts for movies and radio drama. Last year, Amazon paid me $24. If there is a less successful writer, I'd like to know who. One way to explain failure is simple. I'm a bad author, unreadable rubbish. Good joke on me, after 30 years of effort. A book reviewer recently said he wanted to slap me. I suppose that's progress. In Costa Rica it was death threats for an oblique forum post of 20 words. I am an extremely slow writer. On a good day, I can produce 1500 words. Add another day for noodling, a third for copy editing, and more hours to format it for self-publication. It's awful to be self-published, a bleak, windswept literary Siberia. Put that aside. Let's consider how much time I invested in writing the unwanted. 500 words in print that no one reads cost me approximately 24 hours of my life. Half a million equals 1,000 days of effort. Unfortunately, one cannot write every day. Those 1,000 days were cloistered at a keyboard, sitting alone by myself, unable to do anything else but drink coffee and fill a blank page. Weeks elapse and then months and years without reward. Relationships wither. I'm not fun to be with. As we all must, I try to earn a living, time away from the job of writing. I lasted four months at a trade publisher. Three weeks at a music shop. Eight days at a factory on graveyard shift. I've failed every time that I attempted to play well with others, a lifelong handicap. I am not entirely certain that my problem is narcissism. Sometimes I weep with sorrow for my characters. I struggle to get it right, and it seldom seems to be. There are always typing errors and offensive expletives, the bane of signature literature. The upside is how little it cost me, compared to directing. I spent huge sums making films and TV shows that no one exhibited. The reputation hurts. Simon Jester mocked me as a "soulful luser." I can name a dozen people who encouraged my creative work, past and present. I suppose it kept me going, especially during the past few years, when I found my feet as a mature writer. And that brings me to an awkward conclusion. The years remaining will be few and empty of romantic love. I am old and ugly. I'm free of religion, politics, sports, fashion, pop culture, and Politically Correct speech. It is difficult to read other authors. It's also difficult to re-read my own work, because I know it by heart, every word of every book. I can't retract anything, however unpopular it is. One does not author a theory of constitutional law lightly. My novels are about characters I admire and understand. I don't mind being ignored or slapped down. The work is what it had to be. So, my advice to young writers is to write, whatever it is you find right and good. If it makes money, that's excellent. Someone must succeed. I have already plumbed the worst case. You are absolutely guaranteed to do better than Wolf DeVoon. Groovy, huh? Unhappily, we get what we pay for in life. I paid a heavy price. Think about it. Some time very soon I will have to sell my car to put food on the table, an old car that might fetch $800. If you are willing to write, no matter what it costs, I salute you from the grave. I've outlived F. Scott Fitzgerald, dead at age 48, and Frank Zappa, dead at age 57. No one could ask for more, and I used every minute of my adult life to reach for a fraction of their legacy. Your mileage may vary.