Thursday, June 16, 2005

Back on the soapbox

I guess my self-imposed sabbatical was short-lived. While I don’t think I’ll be posting as frequently as I have in the past, a part of me finds it difficult not to write down my thoughts, as well as observations.

When I first decided to be a writer and began to pursue it as a vocation and not a hobby, Stephen King’s On Writing motivated me and urged me on with practical advice. One of his pieces of advice offered, was the admonition that to become a good writer, one has to write regularly—he said at least an hour per day. At the time, I was a corporate cubical occupant for a large insurance mega-giant, working a dead-end, nine-to-five job. At King’s prompting however, I began to write each morning at 4 am in order to get my writing in before I went to my soul-draining corporate gig. Blogging is just that habit in continuation.

This morning, awakening to another day of overcast and light rain, I decided it’s high time to resume another ritual that I held to in the past—my three times per week workout with free weights, to maintain some level of muscle tone, so I don’t totally go turn to blubber. During my 20-30 minute session, I usually watch some television, preferably news, and C-Span. Because of the usual early hour, it is mostly rebroadcasts of previous live events; speeches, congressional hearings and other policy-related fare.

This morning, I was regaled by my president, talking about the need for Congress to pass the energy bill, in order to lessen our dependence on foreign oil; sounds good, right? Well his solution was coal! He waxed eloquent about the abundance of coal and as he is want to do, he glossed right over the environmental concerns. He did this in his usual “folksy” way, saying that he campaigned on “clean coal technology” and that is one of his major tenets of his energy policy. Coal, the producer of greenhouse gasses and acid rain, falling on Mainers as I speak; this is President Bush’s central pillar. As if that wasn’t enough, he also spoke about “nucular” power as another option. Once again, his cavalier phrasing and flippant remarks that “there are some problems with ‘nucular’ power, but we can address them with technology”. Ah yes! Technology to the rescue!

If anyone’s interested in extracting their heads from out of their asses, I dug up another prescient piece by Jim Kunstler that he wrote back in March, a basic synopsis of his book, The Long Emergency. I couldn’t help noticing the glaring paradox between Kunstler’s “doom and gloom” predictions and our president’s Pollyanna-ish glib glossing-over of the real issues pertaining to oil as a future reliable source of energy.

Getting back to my sabbatical. I probably won’t right longer pieces like this one as frequently. Having said that, I enjoy this style of writing, as it most resembles the Op-ed, one of my favorite tools of communication that I employ.

Blogging is an opportunity for me to write and work through issues that trouble me, that I’m passionate about, or often, both. I don’t consider myself an expert, but maybe I’m what Buckminster Fuller called a “professional generalist”. That person, who is interested and tracks multiple theories, sources of information, trends, etc. In an age of specialization, generalists often are able to see the forest and not get fixated on the trees in front of them.

I’ve got a lot on my plate at present, but I’ve been encouraged the past few days by people I’ve spoken with, a few well-placed words and ideas, and coming to terms with the motivation of people who would rather I didn’t succeed.

Yesterday, I had to make a phone call as part of a writing assignment that I was doing for a client. I was privileged to speak to this wonderful, visionary man named Gus Jacacci. A member of Maine’s arts community and a true visionary, Jacacci encouraged me and boosted my spirits as only a member of his generation could. He’s led a fascinating life and is still actively engaged in building a better world to leave for the next generation. I’m looking forward to our future conversations about Thomas Jefferson, social architecture and other topics of mutual interest.

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