Hi!

So… last week I went to a writers conference at Johnson County Central Resource Library. It was good. This was only the second one of these conferences I’ve been to, last year being the first time, and it was a good learning experience.

I went to a session about scene and structure, hosted by Heather Snow, and I learned a lot. There were a lot of small things that I didn’t even consider, but made a lot of sense when I heard them. Mostly about conflict within scenes. In fact, I’ve already applied some of these lessons to my current work in progress.

One of the most interesting things that happened while I was at that session was that I suddenly got a lot of ideas for changes and additions to my current work. It was weird, it was like I was struck with a burst of creativity, so I was taking notes on changes to my current work, new additions to my current work, and just general notes about the session. But I suddenly saw that one of my characters was all wrong, and had to be changed. A good character, but a distraction for the story. So I changed her.

It’s strange when ideas will strike me. During showers, while driving, while paying attention to someone else at a writers conference. Usually I don’t have a good way to make notes, but I already had my book and pen out this time, so it was easy.

There was an election the other day, you may have noticed. I’m originally from Kansas, though I now live in Missouri, so I keep a close eye on politics there. I was so thrilled to see Sharice Davids beat out Kevin Yoder for his congressional seat! Kansas will now have an LGBTQ member of congress, and that’s huge. The more LGBTQ voices there are talking about the issues that are of concern to us specifically can only have positive influence on future legislation. I’m not expecting miracles, but just having a voice there is nice.

Kansas also elected Laura Kelly over Kris Kobach! That is huge! Kansas was decimated by Brownback and his policies, and Kobach wanted only to take those same policies to a more extreme extent. Kelly is going to try to improve funding for schools, which need it, and has already announced that she will reinstate protections for LGBTQ state workers that had been in place before Brownback removed them. This is a big deal. If nothing else, it makes a statement that the state of Kansas is going to work toward removing institutional bias against LGBTQ citizens. Yeah, there’s a long way to go, but it’s a start!

Not so happy that Claire Mccaskill lost to Josh Hawley in Missouri, though. He’s nothing but a Trump rubber stamp.

We got our first real snow here in the Kansas City area yesterday. It was a mess this morning on some of the Missouri highways, especially around the Grandview triangle area. Which kind of leads me to one more political thing: On Tuesday, my fellow citizens of the state of Missouri voted down an increase in gas taxes that would have paid for improved and upgraded roads, as well as road maintenance.

What is wrong with you people!?

You voted against having good highways? Seriously? We have the second lowest gas tax of any state in the country. I think the last time it was increased was 1993. Seriously. If the amount of traffic was the same as in 1993, this may make sense. Not really, but… whatever. Our roads are not that good. They need a lot of work, and we can’t do that without the money to do it. This is costing us all a lot by way of extra vehicle maintenance on our own cars and on every delivery vehicle in the state.

The only thing I can think that may have turned some people away from the increase is the wording. At least I hope that was it. It made it sound like the money was going to the Highway Patrol. This is both true and misleading, if I understand correctly. For some reason in Missouri the road fund and the Highway Patrol get their money from one fund, so by increasing the Highway Patrol funding, you free up the money for road projects. It’s confusing, and I don’t know why this was not worded more clearly. Maybe it would have passed if it had been, I don’t know. We could sure use it, though.

That’s all I got. I talk too much, anyway, so it’s just as well.

Have a good weekend!

Writing, But It Is Going Very Slow Right Now

Hi!

Lately I’ve been a bit bogged down on my writing speed. I’m still making progress, but it is going painfully slow. I can’t really explain it. It’s not writer’s block because I have the ideas and know what I want to write. It’s almost like I go into slow motion while writing. I’ll look up after writing for what seems like half an hour, only to realize it has really been over two hours. It’s weird.

One possibility that has occurred to me is that the summer break for the local schools has drawn to an end. My wife being a teacher, we were together most days over the summer. We had lunch and went out for a little while doing one thing or another on most days. And now she’s away and I’m here alone, working on my book. While I worked on it during the summer, with her here, the place just feels different now.

Another possibility is my allergies are just driving me nuts. This could be a stand alone problem, or it could be just a contributing factor. For whatever reason, July seems to hit me really hard allergy-wise, and I’ve had it bad the past few weeks. The past week or two have been especially hard. So maybe I’m just kind of in an allergy-induced zombie state.

There’s also the possibility that I have just been mentally distracted. Just off somehow. Whatever it is, I’m toiling away and making progress.

So, onto another topic I guess.

What do you all think of that primary win for the Democratic party the other day? She has a chance to be the first lesbian, Native American member of the house if she defeats Kevin Yoder in the general election. Yay for LGBTQ representation in Congress!

I heard about an ugly incident after that primary that Ms. Davids won the other day, though. A local activist, a young woman who was the youngest delegate for Hillary Clinton two years ago, went to a rally after the results were in. She congratulated each candidate for running a good race, and most of them were nice to her, even though they didn’t win the election. Not Brent Welder. From what I have read, he went on a rant against her for some reason. He went so ballistic on this poor girl that he didn’t stop until she was in tears.

Wow, now that’s a class move there, Mr. Welder.

So seriously, whatever your political views and whoever you were supporting, I hope that any of you reading this out there know that you treat others with more respect and better class than this guy apparently did. I think the Democrats in Kansas should be very happy that their nominee isn’t as big of a jerk as this guy comes across as.

Have a good weekend!

Justice Department Now Supports Discrimination?

Hello all!

This is something that has been in the news a lot in the past few years, whether it was this case directly or some others that are similar, and I am so very disappointed that the US Justice Department is now siding with the people discriminating.

Five years ago a cake shop in Colorado refused to make a cake for a gay couple who were getting married. The shop owner claimed it was a violation of his religious beliefs, so he wouldn’t do it. The couple complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, who found that the cake shop was in violation of the law, with several judges agreeing since. Now, according to the LA Times article, the cake shop owner has filed another appeal, and this time the Justice Department filed a brief in the case stating that they agree with the cake shop owner, that he should not have to violate his religious beliefs to run his business, and that he should be allowed to refuse service to gay people.

Anybody else feel like screaming right now?

This is wrong. This is very wrong. This is so wrong that the Universal Master of Interstellar Wrongness is going to bow his head in awe at how wrong this is.

**sigh**

I’ve talked about this here before, but never before has the federal government given such a statement like this. In their brief they actually are now asking the judges to carve out an exception to the anti-discrimination laws for people’s religious beliefs, but only for sexual orientation.

This is insane.

They are literally claiming that equal treatment is so important for race or sex that it overrides your religious freedom, but that sexual orientation is not. They are saying the religious beliefs of a store owner is so important that this public business, receiving all the benefits and protections of being a public business, that they can discriminate against one of the very people whose taxes pay for the roads that their customers use.

So my tax money is good enough for you to gain from, as long as I don’t ask you to spread some frosting on a cake for me?

When you file all the required paperwork, and go through all the processes involved to become a registered public business, and you buy commercially zoned property, you are using government services that we all pay for. Your sidewalks outside of your store may be paid for by my tax dollars, your police protection when you are robbed or have a shoplifter are paid for by me (among every other tax payer). You have to serve me. Period! If you want to pick and choose who you associate with, do it at home. In fact, don’t even open the business at all, you ignorant jerk!

Do these people really think it’s okay to pick and choose your customer? Their religious views are so important, right? So how many birthday cakes have they sold to unwed mothers? Most religions I know of don’t take too kindly to sex outside of marriage, so by providing a cake for that person aren’t you taking part in their celebration of a sin? Have they at least turned away pregnant women seeking a wedding cake? They obviously didn’t wait until marriage.

No? So you’re saying they only want to worry about that one little thing that they think is sinful, and for all the other sins they are willing to take the customer’s money?

For the Justice Department to specifically ask for this exception to be spelled out is so insulting. I am so ashamed that these people represent my country. This is disgusting. Every person in this administration should resign in shame.