Monthly Archives: July 2009

Letter to a Young Man in Jail – Part 2

Dear Micah: 

I talk with your mom regularly, and she’s doing pretty well. She’s worried about you as we all are. But if you choose, this whole thing will just be a small blip in the large continuum of your life. When you consider that you’ll probably live a good, happy, healthy eighty years, a month or two devoted to reflecting on your past and designing your future is probably good use of your time while you’re in there.

But, Micah, I want to talk to you about women. You’ve been attractive to girls since you were very young, and though we’ve talked about this a little bit, I have some information to pass along to you that you likely don’t know.

Women are wired up differently from men. Generally speaking, men are designed to have sex and move along. Monogamous marriage is a decision that people make that is foreign to many a man’s nature. Being faithful is a spiritual decision – one of those things that separates us from animals.

Women, on the other hand, are designed to bear and raise children. While a guy might be interested just in getting laid, the moment a woman engages in sex with a man, she is emotionally involved. She is interested in keeping that man around because she might get pregnant any moment (there are no 100% effective birth control methods), and then she’ll need someone to support the family. And a young woman who is emotionally involved just might forget to take her birth control pill (consciously or unconsciously), because in her emotionally-charged mind, a baby would surely keep her man around. You know how well that works out.

Unplanned pregnancies assure that the species will go on. Planned pregnancies assure that our future society is well fed, well educated, wanted, loved, and emotionally healthy.

So what I’m saying to you is that the minute you have sex with a woman, she’s going to have an emotional attachment that is stronger than you will ever understand. If you start sleeping with a woman out of convenience, and she gets pregnant, you’ll be a father, and will be for the rest of your life. Committed to paying child support for the next eighteen years—when you don’t even have a job to support yourself—is not the best course of action for your life. It would likely mean poverty for your children and a life of drudgery for their mother. Don’t you want more for your woman and your children than that?

It’s much better for everybody to wait until you have your education, job and bank account, then find the right woman, get married and have kids. There’s a reason that the progression goes in that order. When you try to hurry it along, or take those events out of order because of impatience, things have a high likelihood of going poorly indeed.

Dating is a good thing because you get to experience lots of different women and figure out not only what you like, but what you don’t like. And trust me on this: when you hook up with a woman and get married or have children, you will have a relationship with that woman and her entire family for the rest of your life, regardless of how the relationship works out.

Men who think they can have “casual” sex with women are doing damage to those women. The women get emotionally involved, whether they want to or not. It’s in our biology. Then when you break up, or don’t call her again, she gets hurt. Not having sex is a spiritual choice. Not only do you minimize damage to the girl you’re dating, but there is no chance of an unwanted pregnancy.

If you do have sex, make certain that the strongest possible birth control methods are employed. This means you. Don’t leave it up to her, because when women are emotionally involved, things happen, and suddenly someone else is making all your life decisions for you.

I hope you’ll be making all your own decisions from here on out, Micah. I hope you’re making a plan of what you will do the minute you get out of there, and then work at that plan, every day, 8 hours a day, until it happens. If you want to get into the service, call that recruiter the second you get out, go see him, tell him what happened, and find out what he needs you to do in order to get you in, and then get busy achieving that: Get a job, enroll in school…  Regardless, do something.

Make a plan. And then carry it through. Don’t just hang out. That’s what you were doing when you got arrested.

I didn’t mean for this letter to turn into a lecture. I just want the best life has to offer for you. I hope you want the same.

Take care of yourself in there, and don’t forget how much we all love you.

No matter what.

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Filed under Discipline, relationships

Has Summer Destroyed my Work Ethic?

I’m out of practice. Out of sync.

And I think it’s because I don’t have a deadline.

Normally, I get up, get coffee, and get to work. I stop briefly for breakfast with the husband and dog, and then I’m back at it until I’ve either finished my page count or am ready to shoot myself because the words won’t flow. Fiction, nonfiction, school papers… I get up and go to work.  My deadlines are met, my papers are in on time, and I get books written.

Not any more. This summer I seem to have begun to hone the fine art of fiddling around. Like now. It’s 10:40: prime writing time for me, as I’m my fictional best in the morning and the worst in the afternoon, and what am I doing? Blogging. Sweeping the kitchen floor. Doing the dishes. Brushing the dog. Hanging out on Facebook.

Frittering.

Well. The summer will soon be over and I’ll have not only my thesis to write, but school papers, not to mention the current novel in progress, which I’m deeply into in my mind, but clearly not on the page. So this has been a nice summer break, puttering in the garden and making delicious home made bread for Al’s sandwiches, but the time has come to get a renewed grip on myself.

Henceforth: I will get up in the morning, get coffee, and get to work, and I will not fritter until my page count is in on fiction or I have accomplished a nonfiction goal.

This is the way things get done in my office.

This is the way my books are written. Not by inspiration, but by daily page count.

Here we go…

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Filed under Coffee, My New Novel, time, Writing

I’m on a Roll

Two of the Deadliest, the new anthology edited by Elizabeth George just came out, with my story, “Playing Powerball”. Two of the Deadliest refers to two of the deadliest sins, Greed and Lust.  The volume consists of eighteen stories of lust and greed, written by today’s top mystery writers.Two of the Deadliest Cover

I got my contributor’s copy in the mail yesterday and have only had a chance to read the first story, and man oh man, Nancy Picard knows how to deliver.  I can’t wait to sit down and devour the whole thing.

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Filed under Reading, Short Stories

Pre-Ordering When Darkness Loves Us

You can now see more information as well as pre-order your copy of When Darkness Loves Us from the Publisher here.

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My New Old Novel(s)

Apex Books just announced the new cover for the re-release of my very first published book. I’m very pleased with it, and I’m very pleased with Apex Books. You can see more information here, but for now, here’s the new cover:

When Darkness Loves Us cover art

When Darkness Loves Us cover art

Don’t forget that the book launch will be at Orycon in Portland, OR, this November.

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Filed under editors, My New Novel

Living by Intention

We’ve all heard that “the road to hell is paved with good intentions,” but I’ve come to realize that just like nothing in my office gets done without a deadline, many worthwhile things are never accomplished because there was never a stated intention.

For example: what is the intention of your marriage (or relationship)?  It’s worth thinking about, discussing with your partner, and writing out on paper.

I’m just beginning to investigate sustainable systems, and they all seem to begin with a stated intention.  Instead of “I want to lose weight,” or “my goal weight is ___ pounds,” what if we changed those words to: “I intend to eat, exercise and live my life in a manner that supports my sustainable weight of ___ pounds.” To you, the difference may be miniscule, but when you add in the other elements of a sustainable system, such as values, beliefs, expectations, and criteria of fulfillment, we may just find ourselves with a working system. Weight is just a small part of a larger system. If we don’t address the entire system with intention, then all the parts suffer.

We don’t have many sustainable systems on our world…witness our energy crisis, the monetary crisis, the overpopulation issue, starvation…I could go on ad nauseum. If we put our heads together with regards to sustainable systems, beginning with the family unit, our eating habits, our spending habits and the values we use to raise aware children, we could see a marked difference in our world in just one generation.

So go ahead. State your intentions. Start with your relationship. Just what, exactly, is your intention? Be sincere. And see where that takes you.

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Filed under peace, Possibilities, relationships, Social Consciousness, Spirituality

How to Work With Your Guardian Angel

I found this at Starbridge Trust and thought it worthy to pass along:

 1. Remember that angels have a life too. Make appointments when you want to talk to them for special reasons, unless you and your angel hang out together all the time anyway. Keep appointments. Apologize if you forgot your appointment. Angels are always forgiving. They really are.
 
2. Don’t take angels or what they do for us for granted. They have discretion as to what they do and do not do for us. While they would never deliberately cause you grief or take any action that would harm you, they are most willing to let you stew awhile in a difficult situation or let you struggle with it without helping you. It’s your life and you are responsible for it, they aren’t. They are helpers, companions, and protectors, but not your surrogate mom.
 
 3. Thank angels for answered prayers, requests, and even the small gestures of kindness that they give without having to be asked. A verbal “Thanks Guys!” is what I say often – it helps bond our relationship and add respect to our interaction.
 
 4. Make your needs known. While they can read your mind if they estimate that it is necessary, they are very private beings and deeply respectful of your “space” and your personhood. If you have a need, make it known to them. State it aloud, write it down, or just say it mentally but deliberately.
 
5. Be sincere. While angels have an immense sense of humor and love a good time and a good joke, they do not take notice of sarcasm, biting comments, off-colored asides, or personal barbs.
 
 6. Know your intention in all that you do. Angels are deeply guided by your intention. What is your intention for having a conscious, personal, ongoing, co-creative sacred relationship with them.
7. Angels wish us to examine our motives, thoughts, behavior, and actions so that they all eventually flow with the light of the universe: all-loving and purposeful. This does not mean to become self-analytical or subject to every-minute-self-examination. It only means to know why you are thinking what you think, speaking the words you have selected to speak, behave as you do, and know why you take the actions that you do. Don’t be surprised if this takes most of your life to do!

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Filed under connections, Joy, peace, Possibilities, Prayer, Spirituality

Letter to a Young Man in Jail

Dear Micah:

I’m really sorry to hear that you’ve gotten yourself in trouble like this. But you know, every day we have the opportunity to make a thousand tiny decisions, and together, those decisions form our future. You’ve made some bad decisions in the past year, and I know you know what decisions I am talking about.

One definition of maturity is the ability to look forward and project yourself into the future. I hope this jail time gives you the opportunity to reflect on past mistakes and make some changes and set some standards for your decision-making process in the future. Every time you make a decision to do the right thing, you’re creating a future Micah who is a wise man, a good husband and father and a good provider for his family. Every time you make a bad decision, you create a future that might include drug addiction, disease, heartbreak, fatherless children and prison.

And these decisions include everything: the way you speak to your parents, the friends you keep, where you live, who you allow into your living space, what you do to pay the rent and whether or not you smoke that dope. It includes what clothes you wear, how you carry yourself, whether or not you look someone in the eye when you talk with them and how firm your handshake is. It includes whether or not you finish your education, or go into the military or get a good job, and all the steps between here and there. Millions of tiny decisions, every moment, every day. Including the ones you’re making right now with every one you encounter—other inmates, the corrections officers, your attorney, everyone.

Life hands each of us some real lemon-sucks some times. Many times we don’t have control over what happens to us, but we always have absolute control over how we react to it.

We all make mistakes. But there comes a time–a pivot point–when we decide who we want to be, how we want to live, and we begin to act in that manner. What follows is a wonderful life, a positive life filled with adventure and sublime reward.  I bet you would hear that same story from almost any person who is living the kind of life you’d like to live some day. They encountered a turning point, and chose to make positive decisions. I hope this is your turning point.

Some time you’ll need to make that tiny decision to start making better decisions. Visualize who you want to be in five years. Ten. Twenty. Choose friends that you can live up to, friends who challenge you to be a better man. Making a break from the old and establishing the new takes courage, but you know we’re all behind you. Now is a good time to make that change. If you don’t do it now, then when?

One good decision that you will never regret is to listen to those who care the most for you. At the top of that list is your mother. She has been through many trials in her life, and has become a strong, competent, wise woman as the result of the thousands of positive decisions she has made in her life. She will never steer you wrong.

Take care of yourself in there, Micah, and never, ever, forget how much we love you.

No matter what.

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Filed under Discipline, Possibilities, relationships, Spirituality