So you say you’ll vote third party or sit out the election because Clinton makes you angry. You’re not worried about Trump because he’ll lose anyway, and besides, if Clinton loses, it will be because she failed to bring the left wing together.
You keep saying that a Trump win would be “on Clinton.” The contention, as near as I can tell, is that if Trump wins, it will be Clinton’s fault. I guess this helps you soothe your conscience as a voter.
So let’s be honest about what we’re talking about here. One of the candidates is a transparent fascist, a man who has publicly announced his intent to use nuclear weapons and drag the entire globe into war, a man who constantly denigrates women and makes lewd comments about his own daughter on national television, and who has repeatedly threatened to make life hell for everyone who is not a cisgendered white male. The other is a progressive with an excellent resume whose politics you don’t agree with 100%.
Because you are “angry,” because you are “disillusioned,” you’ve decided to withhold your vote from this race. You have the power to influence the result, or at least the strength of the result, in what is without a doubt the most important presidential election in our lifetimes, but rather than use that power you will abdicate it. This is okay in your mind because if Clinton loses it will be her own fault for not being exactly the person you think she should be.
Is that it? Am I understanding the argument?
Because my understanding is that YOU are the voter. YOU will be making a choice, either to have a voice in this election or to stay silent. If YOU make the decision to cut off YOUR OWN voice, that is not on Clinton. That is on YOU.
Tell yourself whatever lies you need to so that you can find a way to “stand on principle” and grant this horrific egomaniac, this wannabe dictator, a chance for power on a global stage. Tell yourself they’re the same. Tell yourself that Clinton would be just as bad – that she would also use national catastrophes to talk about how right she is, that she would also turn families against each other and advocate violence as a solution to political disagreement, that she would actively seek to dismantle our free press, share military secrets with Russia, and “joke” about how great fascism is.
But you cannot change the fact that responsibility for your vote is YOURS. It is not Clinton’s. It is not Trump’s (at least, not yet). It’s not mine, no matter how much your decision may appall me. It is YOURS. Pretending otherwise is cowardly and intellectually dishonest.
You’re better than that . . . aren’t you?
I’ve never met you, and for that reason I hesitated to write this. But it occurred to me that the people who think they have some business criticizing you have also never met you, and something inside me hates the idea that they would claim the right to speak while I remain silent.
I just read this Guardian article, and it left me appalled and sad. I’m sure other people have told you this, but I need to say it too:
You did not deserve this treatment.
You did nothing wrong.
If you’ll forgive me for being so forward, your hair is beautiful and you should wear it however you’d like.
The people who attacked you are small, pathetic creatures who try to tear down and destroy anything they personally cannot achieve. They may have targeted specific aspects of your behavior, but if they hadn’t found that, they would have found something else. The best of them are just tabloid-level hacks trying to leech an instant of your global relevance for themselves.
But the worst of them are the sick, hatred-filled trolls whose only source of joy is wounding others. These miserable excuses for human beings do not understand what makes America great. They do not understand that our strength is in our diversity and our freedom of expression. They know two things—hate and fear—and they lash out with them like savages cowering behind rocks. To be frank, you’re in rather esteemed company by becoming their target. You may not remember, but when you were 11, a presidential candidate by the name of Barack Obama came under similar fire.
If these people hate you, it means you are doing something right.
I have spent the last week feeling a deep sense of pride in America’s Women’s Olympics team—your team. My wife and I have called the kids in from other rooms to watch you and your teammates perform. Your team’s story is an amazing one. It inspires not only admiration for hard work and perseverance, but pride in what America is: the best of the best, regardless of skin color or belief or hair style. All are welcome, as long as they bring it. (And wow, did you bring it.)
The haters reject this idea of America, and by being there and being so powerful and graceful and beautiful, you spit in their eye.
It kills me that they got under your skin on Sunday, and I’m truly sorry that happened. As haters of everything America stands for, I’m sure they counted it as a victory. They are happy when America fails. They are overjoyed when they can ruin something good.
But the inspiration you’ve brought to millions of people—not only American but around the world—isn’t undone so easily. You’re a hero to countless children of all skin colors, and just by getting there you have done far more damage to the haters’ agenda than their words can ever do to you.
The good news is that these troglodytes are losing. They’ve crawled out from under their rocks lately, egged on by an exaggerated sense of their own numbers due to the internet and certain exceptionally loud voices, but they are NOT the majority. Every time we speak, we force them back. Every time we show them what the true America can do, we force them back. Their constant and increasing attacks are not a sign of strength—they are a sign of desperation.
Thank you for winning a crucial victory in a battle you never signed up for.
Thank you for representing your country so well.
I’m proud of you.
So you may have heard about these emails that Russian hackers got ahold of and released to Wikileaks. I see some Sanders supporters claiming they’re proof of a “rigged election” and some Clinton supporters claiming they really don’t matter, but this post isn’t about my opinion in that regard. This post is about one particular line of attack laid out in the emails—namely, a proposal to attack Bernie Sanders for his suspected atheism—and why I am so happy to see it.
Here’s the quote (from ABC News link above):
“It may make no difference but for KY and WA can we get someone to ask his belief,” Brad Marshall, CFO of the DNC, wrote in an email on May 5, 2016. “He had skated on having a Jewish heritage. I read he is an atheist. This could make several points difference with my peeps. My Southern Baptist peeps would draw a big difference between a Jew and an atheist.”
So. The DNC considered trying to label Sanders an atheist, on the assumption that such a label would really hurt him in Kentucky and Washington. As an atheist, shouldn’t I be outraged? Shouldn’t I be marching and chanting and trying to shut down the National Convention?
Absolutely not. I’m happy. Thrilled, in fact. Why? Because they discussed this tactic, and didn’t do it. Someone at the DNC said no.
This Brad Marshall is the CFO there. That’s no small position. I assume he commands some respect and bends plenty of ears. But either someone higher up shut the idea down, or someone with a cooler head persuaded him out of the idea. Either way, the strategy died in his Out Box.
This is an absolute, abject win for atheists and a resounding affirmation of my plan to vote blue in November. Marshall is probably right: labeling a candidate as an atheist probably would bring down his support, particularly in the South. Atheists are the country’s punching bag: it’s a free hit, everyone can take a turn! From that standpoint, it was a sound, if ruthless, political strategy. The Republicans wouldn’t have hesitated to employ it against Sanders or any other candidate. To them, atheist is a dirty word, dirtier than gay, black, or even (gasp!) Muslim—at least in politics. Ten years ago, the same would’ve been true of the Democrats. I can’t remember a time in the past when they’ve hesitated to slam someone for their secularism.
But they did this time.
Why? Is it because they’ve had a change of heart? They’ve taken on a greater interest in the secular cause? Is it maybe because they realized nearly 23% of Americans now have no religious affiliation, and a lot of ’em are probably progressives?
I don’t know the reason and likely never will, but the optimist in me can’t help taking a great deal of heart from their decision. Secretly I hope it was because some number of the high-ranking muckety-mucks in the DNC are atheists themselves.
Whatever the reason, they refrained—and for all the 23% of Americans who may have been slighted by such an attack, regardless of political stripe or social status, that can only be good news.
Dandelions are our constant enemy in the back yard, you know, a nice suburban lawn is not supposed to have a bunch of weeds all over it. Last weekend my wife and I mowed and put down a layer of weed’n’feed in the hopes of never seeing one at our new place.
Yesterday my little girl told me it was a wonderful day. When I asked her why, she said, “Because we have our first dandelion at our new house!” Looking outside I saw that we did, indeed, and my daughter was thrilled to see it.
It triggers a bunch of questions, of course, like who determines beauty, what do people have against yellow, what makes one plant a “flower” and another a “weed” – but the biggest one for me is:
What would we do without children constantly renewing the world? How grey would everything be without their brand-new takes on things? With time everything becomes dismal and faded; there is always a negative to find.
We need youth; we need their perspective. It’s not just a reminder that beauty is relative – it’s a reminder that AGE is relative. “Everything old is new again.” The world still IS wonderful and beautiful and awe-inspiring, it’s just that sometimes, we need to share a fresh view in order to see it.
A full-throated defense of instilling drive in our children.
There’s a growing trend in parenting, and it really bugs me. That trend is “Don’t tell your kids they can be anything.” For a little example, take a look at this opinion piece in The Washington Post by clinical psychologist, parent educator, and mother of two, Erica Reischer.
The argument goes that no given kid can be anything they want, so we should stop telling them they can. Ms. Reischer’s piece claims that children who strive toward a dream get hurt in the long run (though none of the so-called “evidence” for this claim is actually relevant), and that chance plays a much larger factor in most success stories than skill or hard work.
Strangely, Ms. Reischer seems to stop short of explaining to us what we should be telling our kids. “Don’t work hard, it’s all up to chance?” Or perhaps, “Don’t aim high, it will be damaging to your psyche?”
Of course no child can be everything. Of course most children won’t grow up to be astronauts or Supreme Court justices. But since when did unvarnished truth become the best way to raise children?
This trend infuriates me, because it always comes from a bunch of adults who think they have to “adult-splain” the world to kids. The world is different for kids. They don’t understand how it works. They are just learning. My six-year-old wanted to be an astronaut. She also wants to be a ninja, a teacher, and a McDonald’s employee. Apparently I am supposed to tell her, “There are no ninjas anymore, you’ll never be an astronaut because most people aren’t, and teachers and McDonald’s employees are underpaid.”
Here are my main issues with this point of view:
1) Where do you draw the line?
News flash: astronauts exist. So do presidents, ambassadors, best-selling authors, world-famous pop stars, and Really Good Sportsers.
Actually, so do senators, and state representatives, and college coaches and not-bestselling-but-still-quite-fulfilled-thank-you-very-much authors, musicians, and game designers.
As do city council members, community organizers, local high school debate coaches, and cover bands.
Do you see what I’m getting at here? Why only cut off the top tier? As long as we’re telling our children precisely what they can’t be, why not try to nail it down a little further?
“Timmy, you can’t be a Supreme Court justice. That’s just not in the cards for most people. Even an appointee to a federal bench is honestly a long shot. State court? Maaaaybe, but probably not. Most people don’t do that either. Instead of hearing cases, you could present them. They always need public defenders, but the budget really isn’t there for them and I hear the job sucks, and obviously being a high-powered corporate attorney is out the window because most people don’t do that either. You know what, maybe you should just forget the entire legal system. It’s just not for you. Now go brush your teeth and get ready for bed.”
Furthermore, what seems unachievable in one home will seem like the only possibility in another. Eliminating the idea that kids can be anything they want to be means incrementally normalizing the idea that kids should be what their parents want them to be. Most parents already put enough pressure on their kids in this direction, but the idea that kids should have no limits on their aspirations currently serves to combat it. Once we as a society decide kids shouldn’t be “lied to” any more about their odds, why not take that conversation to the next step?
“You know, Timmy, Daddy’s always been a project manager. That’s a nice, reasonable job to aim for with a decent salary. Obviously it’s something you can achieve, because it’s something I achieved, and I’m incapable of looking beyond my own personal experience when deciding what you should do when you grow up.”
2) Who the hell are we?
How do we know what our kids are going to be when they grow up, and who gave us the right to tell them what they can and can’t do? We don’t know the future. We only know the odds.
I can tell my daughter, “There are no ninjas,” but do I really know that? The kid has a serious knack for hiding and sneaking into rooms undetected. There are professions where that kind of skill can be handy. (Unless being spec ops is aiming too high. Maybe a cop? Can she be a cop? Maybe that’s aiming too high, too. Is PI okay?)
Did Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s parents believe she would be a Supreme Court justice (and a damned good one, at that)? Doubtful. If she’d mentioned it as a young child (which she probably didn’t) and they’d told her to aim lower, wouldn’t they have looked like small-minded idiots?
3) Kids don’t differentiate
Like I said, my daughter considered McDonald’s worker, astronaut, and ninja all to be completely interchangeable and perfectly valid life goals. If I tell her she won’t be an astronaut and to start aiming lower, she has no context for that. She doesn’t understand what “aiming lower” means. She doesn’t consider McDonald’s employee to be “lower.” She understands it’s different, but not that it pays less or requires less skill and is therefore more achievable, nor should she.
So her takeaway message is simple: “I can’t.”
Daddy said I can’t do the thing I wanted to do. He had reasons, but I’m six, and my main takeaway is that I can’t do what I want to do.
This is a kick in the teeth to the development process. The message is: Stop aspiring. Stop planning. Stop acting like such a child.
4) You must aim high
This is an obvious one, so obvious that it floors me that people don’t think of it and automatically short-circuit this asinine argument on their own. Yes, it’s true: you will rarely hit your goal.
BUT THE HIGHER YOU AIM, THE HIGHER YOU HIT.
This is a simple lesson that a six-year-old can understand. If you aim for the stars, you might hit the stars. But if you don’t, you may hit the moon, or at least the top of the next tree over. Both are better than landing in the dirt, which is what will happen if you start by aiming for the top of the tree. And if you start by aiming at the dirt, or not aiming at all, you’ll most likely fall flat on your face.
My children don’t need to know that I’m trying to set them up to fly as far as they can by letting them aim as high as they want. If they miss their mark (as most people do), at least they’ll have taken the shot, and despite Ms. Reischer’s insistence that goals are bad for us, they will be better human beings for having made the attempt.
If my daughter doesn’t get to be the President of These United States, I bet you her interest therein will result in an adult that’s well-rounded, informed about politics, and an excellent civil citizen. That’s a pretty nice bar to clear, and if she ends up in law or a political career of any kind because of her interest in the path toward the presidency, I’d say she did pretty well for herself.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. Then I wanted to make movies, then I wanted to make video games. I wrote out lots of video games in notebooks. My interest in this passion drove me to learn computer programming, a skill which I used to great effect during my time in corporate America and in my independent pursuits. It also drove me to write pen-and-paper game systems, lots of them, many of which I have played with my friends. It has become a lifelong hobby that has brought me thousands of hours of excitement and enjoyment. I have never sold one of these games, nor even tried. No, I never became a video game designer, but to this day I feel pretty confident that I could’ve (and probably still could, if I wanted to).
If my mother had told me, “You’re aiming too high. Most people don’t get to become video game designers, Adam. Aim lower,” it might have stripped me of one of the most precious hobbies I have.
5) Exploration is part of development
It is normal for kids to lurch around from interest to interest, trying them all, and to fantasize about what they could achieve within the realm of each. It is healthy. It is necessary. There is no need for a parent to gum up the works by inserting their perspective into the process. We keep that crap to ourselves because our kids need to explore—not get shut down.
6) Kids will enter the School of Hard Knocks soon enough
And the horrible, sad truth is, they are so easy to shut down. The world is going to chew them up and spit them out. It is not going to encourage them. It is not going to tell them they can do it. That voice needs to come from within them, or it won’t come at all.
But guess what? That internal voice isn’t theirs. As parents, we are our kids’ internal voices. Ours are the words of support or despair that they hear in their hearts when the world gets rough.
We have those first few, precious years to get them ready for a life of beatings. The message doesn’t need to be deeply nuanced. It’s actually pretty simple: “Yes, it will be hard. Yes, it will take a lot of work. But you can do it. I believe in you.”
Those early years with my mom, she was constantly propping me up, constantly telling me I could do anything. It gave me enough self-esteem to weather a lot of crap. She is still a wellspring of that support today. When she tells me she believes in me, it is like gassing up at the station before diving back in to the endless, brutal road trip of the universe.
Of course our kids need to know that hard work matters. Of course they need to know that we’ll be proud of them and love them whether they hit those stars or just skim the treetops. And of course, if they don’t eventually realize it on their own, we can help them understand that chance also plays a role.
But without that core of confidence, they will have no strength to make it through the first round of pummelings that the world sends their way. Infuse them with strength. Start them off powerful, so after the world has worn them down, there is still something there.
Tell them they can be anything. Let them try everything.
They will find something wonderful.
Yesterday my first novel, Alex, hit an incredible milestone: 1,000 reader reviews on Amazon.com.
When I published the book three years ago as an independent author, I never would have guessed that I could hit this level. There are authors out there selling significantly more books than I am, that have a bigger backlist and more readers than I do, that don’t get half this number of reviews on their best-selling novels. I certainly never expected to get the kind of review volumes normally reserved for Stephen King books.
If there’s one thing that writing has taught me, it’s that the definition of “success” is fluid. To one person it might mean sales, to another it might mean connecting with people on an emotional level. To another the definition might morph, constantly taking on whatever shape is necessary in order to disqualify that person’s achievements to date. I’ll admit that I’ve struggled with that last one in the past.
But man… it’s hard to argue with that number. I’m still astounded by the idea that 1,000 people have even read a book of mine, let alone that that many were affected enough by what they read (one way or another) to leave a review. Yesterday my son saw Alex’s product page and asked what the review number meant. After I told him, he said, “What?? A thousand people?? I never knew my dad was famous!” In that instant I realized what my personal definition of success was. I also realized that I’d hit it.
I want to write a lot of novels. My plans have been disrupted over and over again since the moment when I had planned to focus on writing more heavily, which is a constant source of trepidation for me and a fact that I am always beating myself up with. But today, I’m cutting myself a little slack.
One thousand? Wow.
I just watched the preview for your new movie Saving Christmas, coming this weekend to select theaters nationwide. I’m not sure why I did that. Normally I try to avoid stuff like God’s Not Dead, and Noah, and Son of God. I am clearly not these movies’ target audience, yet I always want to see them because of the vague feeling I get that I’m being talked about behind my back. What can I say, this time I failed my Will save. I saw that Saving Christmas was listed in this coming weekend’s showtimes, and my morbid curiosity overwhelmed my common sense. I wanted to let you know that I came away from the experience… troubled.
First, fair disclosure on my personal outlook on this. I’m an atheist, so I obviously don’t believe that Jesus was the son of god. I don’t mind that you do, but I, personally, don’t. I’m also a liberal, so I’m okay with people practicing whatever religious holidays they’d like as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone or require me to participate (and yes, that includes Christianity). If you’re still willing to listen to me after those admissions, I’d love to mention a few things.
I know Christians have a real history of persecution, and that the idea for the “War on Christmas” probably grew out of this history. But like many of the most recent claims of Christian persecution, to an outsider, it feels like the War on Christmas has less to do with any Christians that are actually being persecuted and more to do with the religious right’s insistence that no one who disagrees with them should be allowed to have any fun.
Let me use your own words, from the first half of your preview, to show you what I mean. In a tone that I think is meant to be whimsical and mildly befuddled, you narrate, “Do you ever feel like Christmas has been hijacked?”
Let’s take a closer look at that sentence. Specifically, the word “hijacked.”
For something to be hijacked, it does of course have to belong to someone first. The clear implication here is that Christmas belongs to Christians. Therefore, if a non-Christian has any involvement in it, they’re “hijacking” it. In other words, from the first sentence of the preview, it’s clear that what’s important about Christmas is who it excludes. Non-Christians, please shut up and sit down. Christmas is only for Christians.
You then go on to explain who exactly is hijacking Christmas: “All the commercialism.” I could actually get behind this idea; there is a ton of commercialism associated with Christmas, and I do feel like it takes away from the more important message the season can offer. But given that you never mention this again, I’m left with the impression that this is a straw man. Thankfully, you quickly move on to the real threat: “Those who want to replace ‘Merry Christmas’ with ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Season’s Greetings’… whatever that means.”
Ah. Well, Kirk, as one of those people who’s fine with both phrases, give me a chance to explain what that means to me. It’s actually not that complicated, and maybe if you listen to it with an open mind, you’ll even see where I’m coming from.
See, around December of each year, there are a lot of religions and belief systems that celebrate some sort of holiday. Christmas is one of them. Christians (as you probably know) celebrate this holiday to proclaim their joy over the birth of their God’s son, Jesus Christ, whom they believe was sent to earth to die for them and cleanse them of their sins. Another one is Yule, a pagan holiday that recognizes the winter solstice. Yule is a celebration of the fact that the shortest days of winter are gone, and from this point onward, the days only get longer until spring comes (personally, I can dig this; those short winter days are depressing). Hanukkah is another one you may have heard of. This is a Jewish holiday that celebrates and commemorates the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. There’s also Kwanzaa. I know, I know, you probably don’t think Kwanzaa counts because it was only started in the ’60s and it was made specifically for black people, but did you know that actually a lot of holidays were modeled after other holidays, but re-made in such a way that they’d be more inclusive or relevant to a particular group? Even your Christmas originally was! And as a guy who feels a little homeless at the holiday season, since “Christmas” doesn’t really want me anymore, I can understand where they’re coming from on this. Yes, it’s a real holiday, and yes, real people—people my kids go to school with, people I work with—celebrate it. Bear with me. And I know you’re probably getting a little overwhelmed, but in fairness to myself, there’s also HumanLight, which is supposed to be a Humanist celebration, all about how incredible the human species is and how we should look out for each other and generally try to be good people. I’m a quasi-Humanist myself, but I grew up celebrating Christmas and so did my wife, plus “HumanLight” is kind of a dorky name for a holiday, so we generally celebrate on December 24th and 25th instead, like we’re used to.
But did you notice something cool about those different holidays? Every single one is about celebration. All these different holidays, from all these different walks of life, from all these different kinds of people—they’re all about celebration, and loving one’s family, and recognizing the things that make life good. That’s not a bad thing, man! That’s an awesome thing. It’s something we, as a species, can be proud of. And it’s something I personally would like as many people as possible to be a part of.
See, you probably think “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings” are just generic terms, created for the sole purpose of excluding Christmas from ever being mentioned, but that’s not the intent at all. A lot of people would say maybe they are generic, but they’re intended to be inclusive—as in, if I don’t know for sure what holiday you celebrate, I’ll just say “Happy Holidays” to be on the safe side. And that might be true, too, but it’s not what the words mean to me. To me they mean a lot more.
To me they recognize this incredible history that we, as a human species, have. They recognize that for some weird, wonderful reason, a lot of human beings have something to celebrate in December. They recognize that for most people, something wonderful is happening around this time. People are thinking of their families. They’re giving gifts. They’re getting together and seeing each other. They’re listening to music. Like you said in your own preview, they’re dancing and celebrating and feasting. And even though they may all have their own unique reasons for doing so, isn’t it incredible that so many people from so many different traditions celebrate around this same time? Isn’t it humbling, and worth recognizing? These are happy holidays, and we, as a human race, can all recognize that. The phrase is about bringing us together and celebrating the most awesome things that all of us have in common: family, love, and of course, good food.
In my house, Christmas is a celebration of family and the time that we have on this earth together. I hug my wife and kids a little tighter, I get to see my mom and her partner and my in-laws and my grandfather, and we all give presents and eat lasagna. The kids love it, and so do I. I can maybe understand why it would miff you a little that we call it “Christmas” despite not actually believing in Christ, but really, we were raised with the holiday and this whole Humanism thing is fairly new, so I’d hope you can cut us a little slack while we try to figure out something else to call it. And like it or not, that whole Santa Claus thing is a part of Christmas too, and I do feel like our kids have a right to that. Really, since you have your own Christmas celebration to go to, is it that big a deal what we do in our own home?
I guess what I’m trying to say is, you can celebrate Christmas and still recognize how cool the Happy Holidays are as a united force. You can put up nativity scenes and celebrate however you’d like on your own property, where it doesn’t make my kids feel bad for being from an atheist house, and we’ll even still talk about it respectfully if we happen to drive by. You can hear someone say “Season’s Greetings” and recognize that they mean it respectfully and joyfully, and you can even wish people “Merry Christmas” without feeling like you’re on the front lines of the War on Christmas.
Because the worst part about this whole War on Christmas idea is that it loses sight of the things that you love about this time of year. Come on, man. We both know what this time of year is about, and it’s not war.
It’s peace on earth.
My goal this year was to release two books: A Season of Rendings and another, “Alex-ey” type book with a TBD title. I’ve spent the year to date working hard on Season, but it turns out the idea of writing a novel of that length and complexity in six months had absolutely no basis in reality. Given that its predecessor, Children of a Broken Sky, took about 10 years to write, I suppose this information shouldn’t surprise me.
Put simply, there is no way I’m going to finish Season this year. That leaves me with two options.
1) Plow forward on Season and release it when it’s ready, probably late next year.
2) Take a break to finish the other book, already nearing the 10% mark.
I’ve decided to go ahead with option 2. The book is tentatively titled Todd.
If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve heard me complain about this already, but Season is really complex and difficult to write. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy doing it – I do. I love the setting and the characters and I am really psyched to share the events of the second book. But it goes slowly, because it is the second book in a 6-part series and it’s fantasy. You might think fantasy would be easier to write because you can just make up the world as you go along, but that’s not the case. Every few paragraphs I have to stop to double-check some bit of minutiae and make sure I’m not making a mistake. Can I use the word “ounce?” Am I spelling this First Tongue word correctly? Am I referring to events from the last book correctly? Is this a good place to foreshadow something that happens two books from now? Do I want to foreshadow that event? Have I decided for sure that’s how things are going down?
Contrast this with Todd, which involves two main characters in a story told in the real world from a first-person POV. The themes are established and straight-forward; I know the beginning, middle, and end. Opposite Season, writing Todd is downright free-wheeling.
There is a phrase many authors are familiar with, regardless of their stripe: “Publish or die.” I quit a day job nearly two years ago to spend more time writing books. I refuse to let a year go by without publishing a novel.
I want to re-emphasize that Season is not going away. I will spend more time working on it next year, and I’m still in the process of getting the cover done as we speak. I’m not leaving the The Redemption Chronicle; I’ve put too much effort into it and loved the place for too long to abandon it. But I do need to be realistic about how much time it takes to write. My electrician once asked me if TRC would be my Dark Tower. Maybe the answer is yes, in more ways than one. Dark Tower came out more-or-less piecemeal over a number of decades. I don’t plan to let TRC run out that long, but if I were to focus on it exclusively, my output would probably drop to one book every couple years. That’s just too slow. And the truth is, I would be disappointing a number of my fans who started reading with Alex and don’t really read fantasy. The better solution, I think, is to keep writing the “Alex-ey” books (I have six or seven write-able ideas) and work on TRC between them. That way, I can try to keep everyone as happy as possible, including myself.
So that’s the plan. I’ll keep you posted on Season’s progress and expected release date. In the interim, I can promise you that Todd will be available by the end of the year.