Writing Advice – Wil Wheaton

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Wil Wheaton is one of my favorite writers, nay people. I don’t agree with everything he espouses, I don’t think anyone can agree with everything anyone espouses, but we’re on the same wavelength more often than not.

He is a writer’s writer. When he finds something that works, he doesn’t hoard or hide it; he shares it with the masses and he believes you can be a good writer too.

In this blog post, he shares the three books that have made him a better writer. I have read Stephen King’s On Writing, and have highly recommended it. I now have the two other books on my to-read list because Wil’s advice is usually spot on.

And while you’re taking his writing advice, read his work as well!

Tragedy

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We were at a work event for my son’s job this afternoon when I found out that the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris was on fire. Just the view on the computer screen with the white smoke, the bright orange flames licking the stones and rising higher and higher was speech stopping; it was mind-numbing to me. I have a sensitivity to viewing buildings burning. I think it brings me to 9/11, it brings me to California wildfire devastation, and with television and social media it brings it literally into our fingertips.

As of this writing, I believe the two towers have been saved even though the spire collapsed. One of the rose stained glass windows was destroyed, but three remained. The statues that had been on the spire were removed four days ago as part of the renovation. The art, artifacts, and holy relics were saved after being removed during the fire. These are all good things.

This church is nearly one thousand years old. The person who laid the first stone was not alive at its completion. As it has been before, it will be rebuilt because like the church of people remains in perpetuity, the building will be repaired, rebuilt, and it won’t be the last time. The idea, the ideal of the church family lives on in the people who will return to Notre Dame.

In the meantime, we can mourn the physical building as we mourn the death of a loved one and know it will rise again.

I have never been to Notre Dame in Paris, France, but my son visited while on a school trip in his senior year in high school. Knowing how close I am to my own local church and my Catholic devotion brought this home for my souvenir from his visit, ironically also during Holy Week. It sits on my bookshelf where I look at it every now and then, and after seeing the cathedral burning, upon coming home I took this pewter replica in my hand and turned it over, touching the carvings, pressing on the spire, tracing the cuneiform. It was sad and comforting at the same time. (c)2019

Writing Advice – Stephen King

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Stephen King is one of the most prolific writers in the world. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have never read any of his fiction. Not one. I’ve also never seen the movies except part of Stand by Me. His genre of horror has never been something in my wheelhouse, but I did admire him as a writer and a person. I follow him on Twitter and he wrote a magnificent essay on JK Rowling for Time magazine.

The one book I did manage to acquire and read was his memoir/advice for writers book, On Writing. I found it engaging, brilliantly written and so beautifully in his voice. Writing this reminds me that I should re-read it just because.

Here are a few of his quotes that I feel drawn to: 

  • The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.
  • Let me say it again: You must not come lightly to the blank page.
  • You go where the story leads you
  • If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.

  • I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.

Stephen King’s Writing Toolbox is a strategy after my own heart. I love the idea of tools and toolboxes to get us through everyday life – that specialized item that is exactly what we need right at that moment in time.
Two Interviews with Stephen King

with The Independent (from 2017)

with The Atlantic (from 2013)

Meet the Democratic 2020 Presidential Candidates

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Between exploratory committees and official Presidential candidates, as of this writing, there are 18 20 21 24 25 (I think) Democratic candidates*, and to be perfectly honest, almost all of them are better than the situation we have right now in the White House. Obviously, those running for President have their own policy priorities and while everything should not be seen only as a mirror to the Trump Administration, we cannot lose sight of what is at stake. The last two years have been frightening; horrifying at times, and undemocratic with our civil rights at risk.

With that in mind, I have compiled a list of the candidates’ official websites as well as their full interviews on Crooked Media‘s Pod Save America podcast. Most of them can be seen on several news shows offering their policies; I have found that PSA has a very good track record of tough questions while remaining fair.

I have a few of my favorites who I am supporting. I will probably express that in future posts. However, I have decided that I won’t include links for candidates who have not officially announced (VP Joe Biden and Stacey Abrams) nor will I include announced candidates that I feel are wholly unqualified (unless there is an interview with Pod Save America). After 2016 I think it’s important to maintain a level of expectation of our candidates, and while we have a big tent, and all are welcome, I don’t think we should pretend that all candidates are equal. I think two years of inexperience and incompetence is enough. We need someone who knows what they’re doing. I will update this as more announce. A link will also be included on my We the People Page for updates as they happen.

Michael Bennet WebsitePod Save America interview

Cory Booker WebsitePod Save America interview

Steve Bullock WebsitePod Save America interview

​Pete Buttigeig WebsitePod Save America interview

Julian Castro WebsitePod Save America interview

Bill DiBlasio Website, Pod Save America interview

Kirsten Gillibrand WebsitePod Save America interview

Kamala Harris WebsitePod Save America interview

John Hickenlooper WebsitePod Save America interview

Jay Inslee WebsitePod Save America interview

Amy Klobucher WebsitePod Save America interview

Seth Moulton WebsitePod Save America interview

Beto O’Rourke WebsitePod Save America interview

Tim Ryan WebsitePod Save America interview

Bernie Sanders Website, Pod Save America interview

Eric SwalwellWebsitePod Save America interview

Elizabeth Warren WebsitePod Save America interview

Marianne Williamson Website, Pod Save America interview

Andrew Yang WebsiteLovett or Leave It interviewPod Save America interview

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Websites/No Interviews Currently

Joe Biden

John Delaney

Tulsi Gabbard

Mike Gravel

Wayne Messam

Joe Sestak

Tom Steyer

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* This number changed literally after I set this up to post. I will continue to change it if it needs changing.