Confederate Monuments Being Removed

Hi everyone!

In case any of you have been living in a bunker somewhere and aren’t aware of it, all across the US there have been protests recently around confederate monuments, either for their removal or against. In some places this has been small, others large, and in some cases very violent. Some of us are all for their removal, but there are some who say they should stay.

Those who want them to stay say they represent southern heritage, or that they are simply showing the history of the country, even if it is a bad history, and should stay as a reminder of that. Yet others are racists and use them as a sign of what they stand for, or even slip to almost worshiping those depicted.

Those of us who support their removal feel they are not only symbols of a violent and painful past, but more importantly symbolize the dehumanizing industry of slavery, as well as the racism that existed then and which still exists to this day. These statues being displayed in public places like they are only glorifies the people depicted, and it promotes the beliefs of those who are depicted. That should not happen in a country like ours.

As to the argument that some make that removing these statues would be erasing history I can only say that I personally do not want to erase history, I want to put it in perspective. I want it in a museum, where it can be shown in a way that can really drive home how horrible and awful some of these people were. We can’t ignore history, but we can put it in context. These should be displayed in a way and in a location that does that. These people were not heroes, even to those who live in the south. Instead they were men willing to go to war against their own country, willing to die or kill even their own brothers, for a cause that was so horrifically inhuman that I literally cannot fathom how a person can believe in it.

In a museum you can talk about tactics of the generals, and how they out-commanded their Union counterparts in many battles. You can talk about their lives, their history, and how they came to serve in the confederacy. But do that in a museum. Do that in a place where you can show the truth and let people make their judgements, not in a place where they are glorified.

These monuments were not erected as monuments to proud people who stood up to fight for their states against an invading army. Most were not even erected directly after the war as a way to honor their dead, even though they were wrong in their beliefs. They were mostly erected during later times, when laws started being passed to force segregation, or later still as a backlash when civil rights laws were finally being passed. They were put in place, mostly, by people supporting racism. They were put in place specifically as a rallying point around that awful point of view. How can we allow things like that to stand in our country?

So if your city has a confederate statue, please contact your city leaders and ask that it be torn down or moved to a museum, to take it out of the place of honor. Whatever their reasons for being displayed originally, they’ve become a sign of the racists and white supremacists, and they need to go away now.

Why Are Query Letters So Daunting?

Hi all!

So I’m now at the point in the process that I feel like I should be writing query letters to agents, as I really want to try going the traditional route with publishing this particular book. It is the most thought out, worked on, and detailed of all my books, and I think it came out better than I imagined it would when I began.

But I find the process of searching for an agent to be so counter to my personality that it just terrifies me in a lot of ways. I’m shy, but I’m supposed to talk about my work and myself? Ugh! I’m a timid person by nature. I’m working on that, and in a lot of ways I am so very much better than I used to be, but I still even have a hard time telling the cashier at the grocery store that the item scanned in at full price instead of the sale price listed on the shelf.

There should be an easier process.

I have no clue what it is, and maybe this is already the easiest way, but it is so difficult for me. It feels like I’m a seventh grader who has to stand in front of my English class and give a ten minute presentation about Jack London (with visual aids made by myself, no less) because the teacher thinks it’ll be good for me. Yeah, that was a real thing there. I nearly wet myself when I did it, too.

So what would be the easier way? I’m not asking because I want to get out of this, I’ve already figured out that this is the game and it is how I have to play it. I’m just asking as a sort of academic exercise. An ‘If I were Queen for a day, I’d make this change’ kind of thing.

Yes, I like to do those things. Ask my wife.

Anyway… just venting. I’ll be writing some queries soon.

What else is new? Um… not much. I’m going to go to the eye doctor today. Our hamster is getting more used to us, but still nibbles on our fingers a lot. It was so hot here yesterday that I thought I’d evaporate. Things like that.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Why Does Racism Still Exist?

A woman in Wichita got a hateful, racist letter from a neighbor recently. This just kills me inside. I have never understood racism. I have never gotten what gives anyone the idea that they are superior based solely on skin tone or ancestral background. It’s idiotic. It’s illogical.

I think everyone, everywhere, is guilty of some racism. For most of us it is unintentional. I know I personally have said or acted in ways that, upon later reflection, I beat myself up for because it was possibly a little racist. Even when it’s unintentional, I have to do better. We all do.

When President Obama was elected, I was surprised. I knew there was enough racism in this country that it would be difficult for an African American to be elected to that office. Whatever your thoughts are on his presidency, you have to admit that is has brought the racist backlash out. It has sometimes come out on such a level that it has taken me by complete shock. I knew it existed, but the level has just destroyed a little bit of me, maybe a naive and innocent bit, that thought we were getting better as a society. And it has made my heart ache over how evil we people can be to each other. I no longer have the delusional idea that things were so very much better. Now I know that we have so very far to go still.

And I state this for the record: If you like or dislike President Obama for his policies I am fine with that, but if you like or dislike him because of his race then I ask that you please not buy or read my books, and please leave my site and never return.

Racism only makes sense if you come from a place where you see everything in the world as us versus them. The U.S. vs. Russia, Men vs. women, caucasians vs. minorities. It’s stupid. People have ALWAYS used race to control and manipulate others. Why do we continue to listen? Why let others have that power over us, where we will let their poisonous ideas infect us? We have to be better than that.

We continue to get evidence that racism isn’t going away anytime soon. People like the ones who crafted that awful letter to the grandmother in Wichita, and the people like the ones who wrote this letter in Seattle, keep reminding us of that. But we have to speak up when we see or hear it. We have to make it clear that people who think that way are not welcome in our lives. And most importantly, we have to make sure kids know this is wrong and that people who think others of a different race are inferior are just themselves the inferior one, that all races and mixes of race are completely equal. The only way we will ever get rid of racism is to do so in our children. Then we just wait for the ignorant racists to die off from old age. Until then, we have to do better at calling out the racists. If we can’t stop their racism then maybe they will at least shut up about their racist thoughts if enough others make it clear it isn’t acceptable. Maybe they’ll know racist actions will never be allowed. It’s a lofty goal, I know, but a worthwhile one.

Until then we need to keep trying to be better people. I have to, you have to, and everyone in all our lives have to.