Jul 30 2015

You voted it here first

Building the first fort at Jamestown, May-June 1607 Source: National Park Service, Jamestown - Sidney King Paintings Gallery

Building the first fort at Jamestown, May-June 1607
Source: National Park Service, Jamestown – Sidney King Paintings Gallery

On this date in 1619 the House of Burgesses convened for the first time in Jamestown, Virginia. The Virginia General Assembly continues that legacy today as the “oldest continuous law-making body in the New World.” In case you’re counting, that’s a full two years before the “first” Thanksgiving in that other place.

I digress. Let’s talk about writing.

Roald Dahl said:

The writer has to force himself to work. He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his
desk at all there is nobody there to scold him.

Ain’t that the truth.

Let’s just say that an episode in a not-to-be-identified place of employment gave me the good swift kick in the behind I needed a couple of weeks ago that propelled me to take this writing gig seriously.

I committed at that point to making this happen. Among the things I committed to doing was to write a minimum of 500 words daily. I’ve done it thus far. Currently those words are the beginning of a framework for a book about how I became a full-time writer.

It’s working. At least the motivation to write 500 words a day. I’ve also found that writing them before I leave for the YMCA or work is a much more efficient process.

So efficient in fact that Sunday morning, before church, I wrote my 500 words and two blog posts for this week.

Oh wait, I wasn’t supposed to tell you that. You’re supposed to think that I’m this new, original and brilliant on a daily basis.

Of course I am, but these blog posts are generally written on the weekend. Sometimes current events will modify them. Most often not.

See? You too can be brilliant.

I digress.

Dahl is correct. No one is forcing me to write. Sure, I get deadlines from my editors and those become problematic if I don’t meet them.

But no one is forcing me to write this blog. No one is forcing me to write the 500 words a day.

And, yes, I realize to many 500 words seems a small amount. Work with me. I’m going for consistency first. Then volume.

The truth is, I write a lot more than 500 words a day. Emails. Facebook. Blog posts.

They have apps that count your steps. Maybe I need to invent one that counts keystrokes.

Yeah, there probably is one, but remember this has to work on multiple platforms and across multiple devices.

If you happen to be a developer and take off with my idea, I’ll send you my PayPal address for the royalties.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. Writing.

Writing to me is fun. It’s also work.

I can put gibberish together all day long. Putting together something that’s both readable and interesting is another story.

But that’s why I have to go to my desk, or my coffee shop, every day.

No scolding.

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Jul 29 2015

When the messenger fails



A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.

-       Aesop

We’re all fallible.

That’s why I try, try mind you, to not get so wrapped up in the “sins” of others.  I’ve got enough problems of my own.

But what happens when someone we’ve looked up to for decades is revealed to have a major character flaw?

The most recent example is, of course, Bill Cosby.  Work with me here, I know that drugging women for sex is more than a “character flaw.”  That’s not the point.

I remember as a child listening to Cosby’s Noah routine. And, while I think it may have stayed on a season or two too long, The Cosby Show was a wonderful part of the 80s.

Cosby has also been outspoken for education, for behavior, and a strong advocate for responsibility in the African American community.

Does all of that mean nothing now?

How do you still recognize the good that someone did when the latest scandal reveals a dark underside?

It’s not just Cosby.  This happens all the time.

Let me just mention a few…

Does the fact that Lance Armstrong used performance enhancing drugs negate what he did in terms of personal health and cancer awareness?  As a fellow survivor of testicular cancer, that one’s a little personal.

Does a minister who has fallen into sexual promiscuity or deviancy negate the message of the Gospel?

Here at home, does the conviction of Bob McDonnell negate the many, many good things he did as governor?

Or if you’re of a different political persuasion, did Bill Clinton’s extra-curricular activities in the Oval Office negate what he did as President?  And, while we’re talking about it, what about the other women who accused Clinton of misconduct?

This is not a political discussion.  Don’t get distracted.

When the message is clear, when the message is absolute, how do we deal with the failure of the messenger?

I don’t know.  There are disappointments.  Major disappointments.

Cosby did a lot of good things.  That’s not how we’re going to remember him.

The Bible is full of people who failed but God used them anyway.  True, most of those stories indicate that God used them after they failed and then brought them to a healing and repentance.

I think God knew what He was doing when the Scriptures were written on the Dead Sea Scrolls and not on a WordPress blog.

Not that there’s anything wrong with WordPress.

But because we wouldn’t have been nearly so forgiving of failed prophets.

I don’t know that I have an answer to today’s question.

It’s unfortunate.

The message doesn’t change.  Truth doesn’t change.

But that’s not what grabs our attention.

And, that’s a shame.

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