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The Bill of Rights has been modified and updated as the times changed. I believe we could change it so that we are safer and most gun owners are happy. Gun owners are rightfully worried that people will continue to work until they no longer have guns. However, if we could make reasonable changes and then go no further, I think the culture of our nation would also change just enough to make us as safe as other nations.

Background checks, greater oversight in who has guns and sells them, mental fitness requirements are things that most gun owners would be willing to go through, but would stop the glorification of militia type thinking.

The problem is the NRA needs to keep fighting and stirring up fears that we will outlaw guns. If they don’t, their membership would would be decimated. (Both liberals and conservatives have rhetoric that goes too far). Again though, I understand the fear that people will not stop making laws until guns are outlawed.

Then we free up resources to attack violence in other ways. However, there seems little in the way of great ideas on both sides. Restrictions and oversight to guns has stopped shooters. We just don’t know about it. It would be worth it to stop a few more.

 

The above is a response to someone on Facebook that lives in Rural Wisconsin #SharonWisconsin who responded to a post by stating she needed an AK-47 to shoot Coyoytes.  Her husbands response to this was yawn.

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I blame mike perry

1/25/14

I blame Michael Perry

Michael Perry is an author.
His writing reminded me of driving tractor. Sitting on the metal seat of a Farmall and holding the spindly, hand-blackening steering wheel. I would stand and steer like it was a ship. After all the steering wheel was vertical. The exhaust would roar which was good because there was nothing else to do but think or sing and I sometimes did both at the top of my voice. At the end of the day, my hands would vibrate from the pull of the terrain and the churning of the engine. The big tractor was a different ride. The seat had a cushion, the steering wheel adjusted (I think). One had a cab and a radio. Yet the main difference I think was that these tractors had fenders over the wheels. Something you could rest your hand on or a rider could sit on. It was just more substantial. Yet looking back, I miss the small tractors. Seeing the v-shaped tread go past like a water mill. You got on the platform between the two turning giants wheels and you were as basic as the transmission box.

We had our trees. There was the big pine near the house. The dogs laid under it, the perfect location of coolness and closeness to a bone thrown out the door. We had the tree down the yard. Convenient, especially as a brake when theyoungest put a car in neutral and went for a ride. There was the trees in the back, one forked and the canopy for the sandbox. Then there was the rows of pines for a windbreak that was close to the house and yet it was possible to go to a different world as we scrambled among the branches. We cleared a path. There was a sunny world just beyond it. Weedy graveyard of used up farm equipment and the fields beyond that. I suspect beyond that was the world, but I never found out.

The trees of my dreams, however, are the two trees between the barn and the house. Along the walkway but set back on the lawn. That was where the lawn chairs were setup. Whether it was a party or grandpa and grandma or just us kids, it was our patio, our visitors center.

 

 

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My Brother Has Cancer

My brother has cancer. And he is a prime example of why health care reform is important. Universal Healthcare is not some sort of socialist conspiracy. It is a solution to a problem.  Our government used to see something that needed to happen and then fixed it. Whether it was a transcontinental railroad, interstates, or segregation. Now we are a nation and government of squabbling.  We blame the politicians, but they respond to us.

My brother does not have healthcare because he did not work for a place that helped him get it. On his own, it was too expensive. Conservatives, I suppose, think that’s his problem. Well, it is a problem you could just have easily been in. So he could not go to the doctor. In the same situation, I would have done the same thing.

He is receiving care. That’s not the point. The point is, he would have been better off and healthcare would be cheaper if people like him had access to regular checkup and the ability to go in and catch the cancer early.

In the end, only the government can help.  That is the role of government. To step in. I do not see any religious organizations stepping up to take the burden from government (Many, many, religious organizations though do wonderful things).

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Stories of Grandpa

Saturday, dad and I traded songs via youtube.  He showed me who put the overalls in mrs ___ chowder.  We also listened to Nellie Jack and my blue heaven.  Dad talked about how his dad would come out of his bedroom dancing and singing these two songs.  My dad was emotional as he remembered this. He said Grandpa must have been a romantic.  Other men didn’t want to get married, but he always wanted a family.  Dad said he did too.

I replied that’s what I always wanted as well.

What a gift my father gave to me.  To share and to be vulnerable. And to be emotional.

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Drunk In the Warm Glow

I definitely heard echoes of Holden Caulfield as I read this book. Tyler is a modern young person with some issues trying to make sense of the world. He tries portray himself as normal by mimicking the characters in movies and TV shows that he is obsessed with.

He also uses chemicals to help him do that.

Anderson’s main character tell us his story. It’s a unique one while hitting the anxiety that we felt as young people (not that you will not identify if you are not so young). Tyler feels like he is a fraud and is more comfortable with failure due to his childhood. He finds himself doing terrible things to continue his failure. I found the way Anderson let us into Tyler’s head through first person and then had him be a reliable narrator well done.

Anderson also did well with his dialogue and inner monologue. The language and the events of family time with the girlfriend’s family was dead on.

Tyler cynicism reveals the craziness that our modern society has become- from casual sex to foreign policy. To me a literary novel searches the depth of human experience while revealing the condition of society as it truly exists. Anderson does both well.

Drunk In the Warm Glow on Amazon-

Nick of Time by Beth Amos

I tried something a little different. This book. I was motivated to support a Wisconsin author. It is something I believe in. And I can tell you:

I enjoyed Nick of Time. It was outside my normal reading genres, but it kept me turning the pages (flicking the pages as I read it on my Kindle app. Ms. Amos took on some very heavy duty topics. She did not bog down in them, but she didn’t gloss over them either. This well-paced novel, showed a main character dealing with the guilt of a car accident that left her daughter in a coma. Ms. Amos engaged me in the story while only showing the story necessary to make the story compelling.

The story is also highly imaginative with the afterlife and why ghosts appear. Not only does she tackle this, but she makes time travel believable.

This story left me still thinking about the world Ms. Amos created and thinking about life after death.

I am a Lakefly

I am a writer. So you know what that means. Exactly. Socially awkward as hell. I am a better communicator as a writer than as a speaker. This is especially poignant as you are reading this and this aint that good either.
Writers conferences are sometimes put on by writers. A crazy thought, but stick with me. So some conferences then are not as friendly. I mean they are friendly, but because I am socially awkward, I need them to be super friendly.
I think the Lakefly Writers Conference is. I think in my role as a volunteer, I am as well. What I am saying is that I rise to the occasion. Or perhaps it is the right environment and it fosters that in me.
Maybe it’s just that I desperately want the conference to succeed. A conference that I help put on is one less that I have to go to and not interact with people.
Actually, though, it’s a great conference. I love interacting with attendees and the speakers.
It has great attendees. I enjoy meeting writers from all over and I like the responsibility of working to make sure it goes well.
This reminds me of a story. We recently had Michael Perry as a speaker and needed to put a lectern on the risers. I told him it was probably heavy (as in he was a speaker, I shouldn’t expect him to lift it).
Mr. Perry said a very Michael Perry thing- “Are we not men?”
A great bonding moment. Unfortunately he was one of my heroes. So I was tongue tied. My response was mumble mumble mumble. Maybe I’m wrong about Lakefly fostering me.
It will for you though.

How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century

This is my review for Louis Clark’s chapbook How to Be an Indian in the 21st Century. This is from the Wisconsin Historical Press.

“The story Mr. Clark tells is fascinating. It’s his story of growing up Native American in Wisconsin and facing racism, discrimination, and a difficult childhood. Don’t worry though, Mr. Clark also focuses on humor and love. He reminds me of a priest our church had that told a homily and broke out into song to punctuate his points. Mr. Clark does that with his poetry.”

In full disclosure, I know Mr. Clark. I interviewed him for my YouTube Channel show AuthorShowcase of Oshkosh. Besides being a great guy and family man, he has many stories to tell (he tells many in this book). So I am biased. Yet I think you will find this to be a great book. He weaves poetry in the story of his life and as he tell us, he does it to the real beat of the pow wow drum.

Lakefly Writers Conference

I have been a part of the Lakefly Writers Conference for the last five years now. I’ve spoken at it twice and I want to invite you to come to #lakefly17.

If you are a writer, you need to go to a conference. They do so many things for you. They teach. They create friendships, and they inspire. Everyone I’ve met that has gone to a writers conference leaves with inspiration to write (aggressively/ passionately??). If Oshkosh, Wisconsin is too far away, find another one.

However, I recommend this one. We pride ourselves on being friendly and well-run.

I am also inspired by The Oshkosh Public Library. The director set out on creating a conference to fill a need for writers in the area. The only goal was to support them. Since then, the library and the Lakefly Volunteers have had one goal- to provide quality speakers at a very affordable price.

We have a powerful lineup this year. Nickolas Butler and Jerome Buting will be are keynote speakers. For more information please go to www.lakeflywriters.org.

If you have been to the Lakefly, please let us know and maybe blog about your experience.