Poverty

Thinking often lately about poverty. Real poverty, destitute living, hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck poverty. I did not go out and interview a bunch of poor people. No, I lived this nightmare. From fourteen to somewhere in my late thirties, I considered myself as one of this nation’s poor people. This nation being the United States. I don’t really want to talk too much about this country, the only point that I would like you to take away from this is that most people lie about themselves to themselves about money, and about others to themselves too. I believe that money and wealth is one of the areas that is broken in the United States and that most people will not and/or cannot face the truth about money. How much they have, how much the owe, or how much they really need etc. We are delusional in other ways too, but this one I know well. Because really, I probably left the lower class by thirty, what did I just say, late thirties? See that, truth, we need some, and I can find it, and thanks to my somewhat unique past, I know where to look. That these are the things I want to find out about in my post labelled with the tag ‘Poverty’, when it comes to poverty, I think we will find it still affects us all.

Two main things occurred to me as a poor person. First, you can’t relate to the wealthy, I remember my “friends” laughing because our toilet had been broken for a few months, I was a kid and didn’t know how to fix it. My dad was absent, and my mom was about to crack up. These kids ripped on the way we lived, the disrepair, the dirt. When I got older and was still ‘behind’ or thought I was it was, “don’t you have someone to mow your lawn?” or “You clean your own house?” These are grown up versions of the same taunting, or so I thought. I don’t understand how you are living and I think my life is better is what I heard. Of course, intent is not always known in these “discussions” and you can’t go around blaming people for asking what may be harmless questions. I know now that much of the problem was in my head, but I didn’t at the time and most poor people don’t either in my opinion.

Poor people are, for the most part embarrassed to be poor, I think. Yes, this is my opinion, but I think you can believe this, even when people tell you they don’t care about wealth, in much harsher words than I’m using here, they do. For some that are not poor, they are not because it is terrifying to them, and they would do almost anything to keep away from poverty. Not a horrible thing, but while this reality drives some people to great things it drives others to evil and still others mad.

So yeah, I’m going to research some on this and post it here. I want very much to write about light things. Be clever and have cool fictional characters, but right now I’m more interested in truth, even when no one around me is and I think, as I investigate I will find that the reason people are poor is that they are telling lies. lies to themselves and to those around them about themselves. Lies to others and themselves about everyone else. I’ve been lying to myself for over 10 years. I’m going to stop, and I hope you will stop with me. We are going to quit lying like we quit smoking and quit eating junk food. We are going to see reality better and clearer and maybe even find some solutions to some of these issues.

So yeah, poverty. Let’s see what it’s about, what are its causes, its effects on people and communities, why people won’t face or even talk about poverty, and I’ll tell you my story, how I got from poverty to upper middle class. Maybe my crazy story will help you understand this tough issue, I know it will help me just to think about it and write it down. I’ll provide hard numbers too, maybe my own, maybe from others. I’ll be as honest as I can an even try to keep it light here and there. Here is an old one, but a funny one if you never heard it. I’m so poor I can’t afford to pay attention.

Pay Attention

Such a simple thing to do right? Wrong. Paying attention is difficult, very difficult. You are not thinking, you are just watching and listening. But keep working too; you can’t just watch, you are a participant. What a crazy world we live in and what crazy lives we lead. Hang tough friends. We will get to the end whether we want to or not. What will they say about you at the end? Good things? Or he/she was a miserable bastard? What I dislike the most, I guess, is the idea that I must climb this ladder. This eternal fight to beat the other monkeys to the top. It’s tiring! But continue on and never surrender. Will you hit the top, probably not, but never let them think you knew that all along, keep pushing like you will be the next boss or the next family leader etc., and they won’t say that you gave up. Wouldn’t that be the worst thing you could do? Give up? And should you end up at the top, then you can think clearly right? Wield that power with honesty, grace, bravery and with as much morality as you can muster. So in a word. Persist.

Outsource That Stuff

Look I spent the whole day raking leaves yesterday. It’s just one day, I know but there are many tasks like this when you have a house. Cleaning, you must clean guys. Mowing, repairs. Spray for bugs, mouse traps. All that stuff takes time and mental cycles. All time you could be writing, or planning on writing or ‘gearing up’ to write etc.

Double all this time if you have kids. No, triple it. Anyway, if you can afford it. Outsource this stuff and spend a little time with said kids or spend that time doing what you want to do, creating and writing. Seems crazy, right? I never thought I would be able to do that but here I am and here you are and here we are so let’s go. Call someone today to clean your house once a week, or shovel the driveway in the winter. It will cost a couple bucks, but that is why you are still working that suck day job right?

Am I a ghetto dweller, for liking literature?

So yeah, I’ve come to a revelation. I want to write literature. Not just stories. I want to preach and most people despise that, especially when it’s not even that entertaining (I think I’m entertaining, just making a point here.) Most writers/readers I’ve met are only looking for entertainment. Nothing wrong with that, but that’s not what I want to do. I want to entertain, but mix in some preaching too. Because that is what literature does right? Uplifts, teaches. All art should do this right? I’m stuck on the stuffy side of art I guess, and when said art is not satisfying to me. I’ll bitch. Except I won’t bitch publicly and name names because I refuse to bad mouth anyone, but I will vaguely bitch about life and so on. It’s just what I do. So where does all this leave me. Fuck. I don’t know. Here I guess.

Persist. That is all there is to do. And really, for me, I need to tune out all the nonsense out there and persist. I’m writing something that is mostly entertainment now, but I want to subtly work in some life lessons about friendship and bullies and bravery etc. I’ll post here how it turns out. Should wrap up by summer 2017. I’ve decided not to self-publish this next one. I want to be on the shelves man. I’m going to do the next 5-8 years trying to get published the old way. I’ll blog and let you know how it goes.

Here is an article that makes what I just said sound stupid and they are right. Crap. http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/books/a33599/genre-fiction-vs-literary-fiction/

Here I Go Again

350-360/42,000 I’ve started a new story. Looking forward to writing again, it’s been too long. This blog has become a constant for me. One thing I can just do and not worry too much about. I place to come back to and see how whiny I was back when, how productive, how whatever.

I’ve been through three jobs this year. Fought with many people that I love. Found help where I could and when I needed it most. But I’ll never stop being creative. It’s what I am and what I do. I will never surrender. Surrender is death. Forgive your past. Forget the future. Live now and write.

J

Get Back to Work!

Those in trenches, I salute you and your efforts this week, month and year. I’m in there too, taking shit from ‘the man,’ working hard and dreaming big. Hang in there and know that we will triumph! Here is to you!

I’ve had to switch gears, I wanted very badly to tell my story but could not. The emotions were wrecking my productivity and mood, I had to put it down and stay focused on the here and now.

Instead I’ve started a little board game project. I’ll be doing first playtests this week and will report back for the none of you who give a squirt.

J

Weed

Ug!! Issue three failed in Ohio. I can’t decide if Ohioans are smart for preventing monopolies are stupid for not allowing legal weed and thus ending all the stupid issues around that prohibition, i.e. ruining young lives, bloated incarceration system, advocation of an inferior intoxicant in alcohol.

Did they just buy the marketing or do they really care about monopolies? Cable is still a monopoly, so are the casinos.

I think here in the midwest we care a bit more about the blossoming inequality of wealth in America, for what we understand of this issue. Me? I just want to legally smoke weed.

Ego

What is the difference between a big Ego and having confidence? I would say ego is selfish. Confidence cares about more than you, it cares about you, them and the task at hand. Confidence is so very important in everything you want to accomplish. You need to know you will accomplish it before you accomplish it. Ego can help you do this too, but ego will crush anyone (including you) who gets in the way of the task.

So chill out all you ego maniacs and make room for those of us with true confidence. Of course this statement is silly, they won’t make room, that is why we call them ego maniacs. So the true confident people will always clash with those with ego.

Random Thoughts – Changing jobs in your forties

So yeah, I joined what is essentially a Midwest start up at 41. What could go wrong?!?  I did this once before and it lasted six months (2008 financial meltdown strike any chords?), to say I’m nervous is an understatement.  But I would not be me if I just sat in one place and wasted away.  I won’t.  And I won’t tolerate miserable bosses and people in my life for long either.  Don’t waste your time and breath on these people.  Fight if you have the fortitude but move the fuck on if you have to.

Regardless I’m going to give it my all.  So you should see more postings here as I, hopefully, become less miserable.  

Midwest start ups are not so much like the west coast (based on my knowledge of the Silicon Valley HBO show.)  The two Midwest super small companies I’ve seen now were both backed by giant companies.  And don’t think because we are not west coast that we don’t work as hard as you do.  We often work harder because we have families and homes and yards to care for.  Functional families that is, you know who you are.  But unfortunately we also have guys who still think it’s 1980 and they can ‘kick ass and take names’ or ‘do what I want because I’m the boss and I say what goes and this ‘coders’ are just resources.’  okay, whatever, I don’t even know what I’m bitching about anymore.

Just wanted to post something.  Been a while. For that one guy who reads this blog. I love you man.