Monthly Archives: March 2017

Democrat? Republican?

As some of you are aware, I am considering a run for office in the California legislature. My original intention was to run as an independent. But my daughter Darcy, who has volunteered to manage my campaign, and who is a force in Arizona politics, assured me that winning as an independent simply won’t happen

To which I said, “I’m not going to win anyway.”

And she said, “Why not?”

And I said, “Because I’m an introvert, a writer, not a lawyer, and the winners are extroverts and lawyers.”

“So why run, if you don’t intend to win?”

“Because I feel like it,” I said, rather than alienate my agnostic prospective campaign manager by admitting I believe God had given me an assignment. 

“Then,” she said, “you need to run as a Democrat.”

She’s a Democrat, and the guy I would be facing, a Republican, is trying to convince the people of our district that the idea of making California a sanctuary state should make us tremble.

Having lived forever near the southern border, I have known plenty of Mexicans and immigrants from Mexico both legal and not, and I fear them far less than I fear the wall builders.

So I said, “Okay, Democrat it is.”

My dear friend Mark, an earnest Christian who voted for Trump, agreed to not only vote for me but to work on my behalf. But when he talked to Maggie, his wife, about my candidacy, she asked what party I would belong to, and when he said Democrat, she said “Well I won’t vote for him, and you’d better not work for him either.”

Her reason? Because she had never voted for a Democrat and never would.

Same with Karen, my Methodist mother-in-law.

And with a friend of my friend David. This fellow asked me, “How can a Christian possibly vote for a Democrat?”

Sure, I could have asked in return, “How can a Christian vote for people who don’t appear to give a hoot about anything but holding onto what they have and getting more of it, no matter the cost to others?”

Or I could’ve referred him to Jesus’ Beatitudes or to Isaiah 61. Or to this article entitled And Jesus Said Unto Paul of Ryan. It’s smart and fun.

But I chose not to argue during a golf game.

Anyway, I’m not fond of verbal arguments. Otherwise, I would’ve gone to law school rather than becoming a teacher and writer. Teachers and writers are about thinking and presenting and defending the truth. Lawyers are about arguing.

Which is why I would make a fine legislator but will be mighty surprised if I get elected.

Pay Your Dues

After his victory over the tempter in the wilderness, Jesus returned in the “power of the spirit.” In other words, Christ had to face temptation before the full power of the spirit was available to him.

Likewise, we may need to prove ourselves ready for the gifts of inspiration.

During graduate school, at a party after a reading, I was talking to Sara Vogan and C. E. Poverman (alias Buzz). Sara was my friend and fellow student. Buzz had come to give the reading. Sara asked Buzz, who had finished Iowa’s writers’ workshop program a few years before, how long it usually took graduates before they sold a book. Buzz replied that even the writers who succeed most always take ten years from the time they got serious about writing.

He was dead right, I’ve observed. And who can count the ones who fail or drop out along the way?

I began to write in earnest soon after I realized my dad, not I, was the musician in our family, and I was the storyteller.

By “in earnest” I mean every chance I could. If the workdays burnt me out, I would write all weekend. If kids demanded my weekends, I rose early and wrote.

I hauled a wife and baby to Iowa largely because I imagined earning a graduate degree that qualified me to teach writing at a college would allow me more time to write than most professions would.

I don’t mean to whine. If anybody sacrificed because of my choices, it was my family, not me. My life has been a great adventure.

What I do mean is this:

If you want the spirit’s help with your writing, the spirit may require that you make writing your top priority.

I heard about a South Korean man who instantly became a hero of mine. Having been imprisoned in a North Korean labor camp for some political crime, he and another former prisoner wrote and were producing an operatic musical about those camps. They found potential backers, but the South Korean government pressured the backers to withdraw and thereby avoid public outcry that could damage economic cooperation with North Korea.

So this producer mortgaged his kidney to pay for the production.

Let’s think about him when we lament missing Saturday morning volleyball in favor of writing.