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Imagine: Put Up or Shut Up

 

Richard Goodstein is a Democratic campaign strategist, involved in the Hillary Clinton campaign. Of course, in a world where Carter Page is a Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, it’s difficult to know what that means. Is he just some rando volunteer padding his resume, did he actually get a paycheck from the campaign, or was he one of the inner cabal working to subvert the American electoral process? Who knows?

What we do know is that he’s a frequent talking head on the cable news networks, where he can be counted on to change the subject on a dime, and always reliably parrot the Democratic talking points of the day. I mention him because he’s been selling a particular talking point over the last week or so, a point that I have heard repeated by other Democrats, including a group of Congress critters in the wake of the report from the Office of Inspector General.

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Music and the Imagination

 

Music can spark our imagination. My sixth grade music teacher once came in with a recording of some symphonic Rachmaninoff and instructed us to take out our notebooks or looseleaf paper and write whatever came into our heads as we listened. I wasn’t sure what to expect since she didn’t tell us in advance what we were about to hear, but I remember feeling shocked as the sound crashed into me and then I began to write, and words flowed from my pen onto the paper as the music swept me away.

Music can also create emotion in the listener. We all can think of the power of a favorite song or classical recording. Have you ever been watching a television show or movie when you realized the only sense of suspense or excitement was coming, not from the plot or the scene or the actors, but from the music? The composer attempts to use this instant link to our brains to convey something to us, often successfully, even when the rest of the input does not support that idea.

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Who Wants to Help Write a Dentistry Musical?

 

I had my semi-annual dental cleaning a couple of days ago, and as I spoke with my hygienist and dentist, I thought of something the dental profession needs: Good PR. Not just good PR, but flashy good PR, and what better PR is there than a good musical? I mean look what Kiss Me, Kate! did for touring actors or Lend Me a Tenor did for opera singers or what A Chorus Line did for Broadway performers or what The Greatest Showman did for circus hucksters or La La Land did for Hollywood performers or what The Blues Brothers did for blues bands or…um…what the “Poor Judd is Dead” song did for Harvey Weinstein types in Oklahoma. (All of the sudden, I’m realizing how self-focused that this whole business is.)

Anyway, the point is, that a good musical could be great PR for dentistry. When we currently think of musicals and dentistry, what currently comes to mind? You immediately thought of Little Shop of Horrors, didn’t you? First, the dentist is only a peripheral character in that musical, and even more so in the original movie the musical is based on. Second, this character is not good PR for dentistry, not by a long shot. No, we need something much better, much more positive.

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Imagination: Gathering Around the Digital Fire

 

Some years ago, flying out of Phoenix Sky Harbor in Arizona, this scene invoked another so strongly that I had to capture it: More

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Group Writing: Living in the Shadows

 

He’d had a long, productive life. On reflection, he said he had no complaints. He took care of himself, ate right, and took regular exercise. He’d raised an independent brood, all who eventually went on to make their own way in the world. He tried to talk them into staying close by, but they were determined to forge their own paths. And now he’d outlived them all.

Unfortunately, life changed in these parts. He had always felt free and independent, keeping his own schedule and company. He explored whenever he felt like it, relaxed when he could and pretty much lived a life of leisure. He’d always been a night owl; the silence and safety of darkness never stopped having its appeal.

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Quote of the Day: Reformers, Right and Wrong

 

“The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.” — G. K. Chesterton, Illustrated London News 10-28-1922 ¹

I’m unclear in what context Chesterton wrote this. This quote mugged my attention, and sticks to the roof of my brain like peanut butter. I don’t believe this is always true, but, I’ve found it to be sufficiently reasonable, as a rubric of sort. It forces my mind to rethink a criticism, usually one that rubs against my confirmation bias, to force me to see my critic’s point of view.

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Charis Colony, Chapter 1

 

Note to @Arahant and others: Your recent contribution to the monthly Group Writing project here got me to thinking about characters that occupy one’s mind and which one feels compelled to get on paper (or in pixels). Well, here is the start of one of several novellas or novels I have been working on featuring […]

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A Father’s Imagination, for Better or Worse

 

Three of my kids are at summer camp. It’s for a short duration—five days—and as I write this I’m halfway through it. That is to say, I miss them. They weren’t gone for more than a few hours before I asked my wife if it would be pathetic for me to admit I missed them already. She just smiled and let me know it’s what good dads do.

I saw a picture of my oldest daughter yesterday on the camp Facebook post. She was singing, captivating, beautiful. I immediately began to imagine her leaving the nest, perhaps getting married. I have no illusions that when the time comes, I’ll be a wreck. That goes for the boys, too. My oldest is seventeen and though he’s ready and raring to get out and tackle the future, I can only imagine life without him here.

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Speaker for Those Who Live in Another Universe

 

I call myself a writer. But there are days when I wonder at the justice of my calling myself such. I wonder at the truth of it. Oh, certainly I have a facility with the written word, but when it comes to writing fiction, it is seldom that I am working hard at writing. Instead, it is as if the characters appear in my head. They shout, “Write this down. This is my life. Let your people know who I am. Let them know who I was. Let them know that I existed, if not in your world, then in another.”

You may call it imagination. I imagine these characters with all their foibles. Some are essentially good people. Some are drunks. Some are bored. Some grow through their stories. Some are out-and-out sociopaths, manipulating people and perpetrating horrors.

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The Evil Czar

 

The White House should hire me immediately. The official job title is unimportant; it could be as an advisor or low-level staffer, but the inner circle will know why I’m there. I will be the Evil Czar.

What’s the Evil Czar? It’s simple. My job will be to come up with diabolically evil and devilishly imaginative ways to screw with the President’s opposition, whether that be Democrats, the media (I know, I know… I repeat myself), or even disgruntled Republicans. This could be done in service of several different goals, whether to further a policy agenda, to change the media narrative away from a negative story, or best of all, simply to drive them insane and to put that insanity on full public display.

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Quote of the Day: “We Just Got Here!”

 

Retreat, hell! We just got here. 

One hundred years ago this week, American ground forces, under American leadership, entered the fighting in France. At Belleau Wood, the United States Marines moved forward through retreating French forces. It should have been a relief in place, with Americans entering the lines and relieving the French soldiers in the trenches. Instead, it seemed to be turning into a forward passage of lines, transitioning into a meeting engagement, where two advancing forces run head-on into each other.

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Group Writing: Getting to the Truth

 

For the second time in a single minute, I looked at my watch. Although I felt some anxiety, I knew that I had truth and justice on my side. Ordinarily a Chief of Staff wouldn’t have taken on this task, but I was glad to be leading it. And I had to admit going to war on these issues was thrilling; we had waited far too long to act in a decisive and forceful way.

I ducked my head into the President’s office. “I’m heading over,” I said. Any last thoughts, Mr. President?”

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Group Writing: In My Imagination

 

When I was a little girl, I often was conscious of living life in my imagination. I might be walking up the driveway from the school bus in reality, but in my imagination I had suddenly become Aragorn the Ranger, and my noisy siblings just ahead of me probably couldn’t even see or sense my stealthy, long-legged presence behind them.

I might be trailing through the mall behind my mother as we boringly shopped the sales for school shoes, but in my imagination I was Laura Ingalls, providing a running commentary on everything of any interest around us for my blind sister Mary.

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