Thursday, January 22, 2009

My Two Cents

Hello friends,

I'm taking this time to repeat what has already been said by millions, be it the media, activists, or just friends of yours or mine. In watching the inaugural happenings of the past few days, I have been moved--genuinely. Call it cliche, call it predictable or what you will, but, nevertheless, it is how I feel. So bear with me.

I feel as if a weight has been lifted, as if a filter of grey has been removed from my vision. I found myself wanting to hug every person I laid eyes on, everyone. I wanted to sing and dance and to laugh and cry. And I did many of those things. And I sincerely hope you did as well. God, it felt good.

I, myself, decided to support Barack Obama just over three months before the Iowa caucases, and, although at times I became irritated--or just exhausted on account of all of the crap that must be waded through ad nauseum--I never regretted my decision. I did very little on his behalf. I told not a single person to support him. I asked not a single person to, either. All I did was answer questions that were put to me. I told of why he had my support. I told of my trust in him, a trust that just so happens to be a rarity amongst my conventionally cynical way of carrying myself. And I put his name--like so many others--across the back of my car. And, even this small token of support, I admit, I did reluctantly. I live in Utah, not a fan of his types in usual circumstances, and I kept seeing a rock going through my windshield. Luckily, I don't care much for my car, and so I didn't hesitate for too long. I proudly cast my vote for him when the opportunity was afforded. And on Tuesday, I believe I received some semblance of affirmation that I did the right thing. The man, Obama, my friend, has my blessing, my support, and my good will.

I find myself wanting to volunteer to help those that have trouble or simply cannot help themselves. I want to tell everyone not to worry, that the worst is over now. I want to tell all of my friends I love them. I am elated. Stoked. Simply. I understand that many will say I am young. Or Naive. But, once again, of this I am not at all concerned, for if maturing or gaining some esotericism that is bestowed only on the aged is received alongside anything that will nullify or overshadow the emotion, the fervent presence that I feel now--that's how I feel, that I am finally present wherever this place is in which we find ourselves--I can only pray that I never reach such a milestone.

I am also very aware of what lies ahead, that he now has to prove himself. I have no delusions of grandeur. He is, after all, a mere mortal. He can work no miracles. But, he is doing something that I feel has been absent for some time, for far too long, anyway. If he can only harness the emotion, the energy that he has stirred up within so many individuals and in the collective. And I believe he can. I know he can. But he needs all of you out there who are willing to do your part. You don't have to support him, for there is never a need for lackeys. What we need are those who are unwilling to throw themselves in front of the wheels that are now rolling. Let them be. For those of you who fear what America could potentially become at the hand of this man, I ask you: give him his due, give him his chance. Don't stop him before he has the opportunity to take his first steps, and, eventually, to carry us on his shoulders. At the very least, give him the benefit of the doubt--I implore you. For, you cannot deny that something is happening. And I believe it to be a beautiful thing indeed.

As he himself has said so many times, the world in which we find ourselves has seen better days. Of this, we are all aware. And let us do something about it. If not working to render it in the best shape it has ever witnessed, then at least to reinstate it to some of the days it saw when it was just a bit younger. The environment is in a bad place right now. As is the economy. But our humanity is the most pliable of these things, and we find it in a very volatile situation. As much as it's being debated what all needs to be done to stimulate the economy--what tax cuts, what spending--I believe that our humanity was in just as dire straits. And whereas the aforementioned are possible solutions to the economic crisis, Obama, the man, himself, is the stimulus for our spirits. Take the boost. Jump a little higher. Don't quit or justify idleness just because it seems that there is difficulty or discomfort ahead. Just go.

Don't let the ball stop rolling. Follow it. Keep it going. Kick it if you have to. Just don't stand in its way.

Thanks for reading.

And also, I apologize. It is 3:00 am after all. In such circumstance, sometimes I cannot be held responsible for what I say or for how ridiculous I may sound.


Monday, January 12, 2009


Hey. It's Fivas. I know I haven't written in forever, so I decided to finally sit down and jot down a thing or two on account of the new year. First off, let's recap some of the high points of 2008 for me.

Writing: I finally finished the first draft of my first novel. I wrapped it up on the last day of November. I'm fairly stoked to get some query letters out soon, though I'm not certain about how many rejections I can stomach before my self esteem is bupkes. I know the idea of eventually getting published is a long shot, but I enjoy writing, so I'll continue to do it whether or not I am fortunate enough to have that happen some day. I'm in the process of revising with the full intention of ironing out the wrinkles as best I can. I haven't decided if I'm proud of the finished product yet, though I am proud of myself for finishing.

Travel: 2008 was a big year for travel. I have the ongoing resolution of leaving the country at least twice a year, and I'll keep it up for as long as I can manage. I pulled it off this time. The following is a list of all the places that I visited in 2008:

USA: Idaho, California, Oregon, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virgina, Maryland, D.C., Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. I also visited Bryce Canyon, Goblin Valley, Arches (2) and Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon right here at home. I checked out the Grand Canyon, spent a few days in Vegas, went to Carlsbad Caverns and the Senora Caves, the Alamo, New Orleans, Mobile military base, Nasa, the Capital, checked out Niagara. I walked along South Beach (a fave location of mine) in February in bare feet and shorts while my friends back home were freezing. Good stuff.

Canada: Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Newfoundland is gorgeous; sparsely populated and not as yet marred by humans. Ice bergs were melting on the horizon and moose were everywhere. Also, I love the ocean and the place happens to be an island. So, hey.

Australia: New South Wales. Took some rides out in the ocean to check out whales and dolphins, Saw Four Seasons and Don Giovanni at the Sydney Opera house, went to Taronga Zoo (and two other wildlife centers including an aquarium), attended a celebration with fireworks and dancing for the Chinese New Year (half of Sydney's populous is Chinese), hiked through the Blue Mountains in the Katoomba Rain Forest. Just had a thoroughly good time.

That's 36 states, four Canadian provinces and one in Australia all in one year. Not bad. I spent over one-fifth of the year away from my bed.

Work: Same old crap. Worse job in the history of the complex organism. I'd rather do the job of a male penguin during the mating season; using my body to shield the icy wind of over negative 100 degrees from the others, all the while tending an egg. That sounds like a dream.

Besides that, I didn't do much beside just, you know, hanging out or reading. But I happen to be a fan of both.

As for 2009, here are some of the things that I'd like to see happen:

Send out at least twenty query letters for BOAOC;
Write at least three short stories and submit them to fiction magazines;
Be well into, if not finished with, a second novel;
Visit ten states;
Leave the country twice;
Improve the job situation;
Get a slot on Jeopardy;
Exercise (of course).

And here are some things that I'd really like to see happen:

BOAOC gets accepted by a decent publisher for a $40,000 advance, then the paperback rights go to Vintage for $80,000;
My second novel is already being bid on before it's finished;
One of my three stories wins the O. Henry Award and earns me a Guggenheim fellowship;
I circle the entire country doing book signings and readings;
I'm flown out to Sweden on account of a Nobel nomination, the first ever for a single debut novel;
I quit my job after learning of the royalty advance and the Guggenheim;
I'm invited on as a guest for Celebrity Jeopardy, an episode featuring men who changed the world;
I somehow get out of exercising.

Well, there you go. 2009 in a nutshell. Sorry for stealing that ten minutes of your life. Take care, friends.