A Week Later…

January 27, 2017Dear President Trump

January 27, 2017

Dear President Trump,

Congratulations for a full week of your presidency. It’s been a bumpy road for you and for those of us who are watching your every move.

I planned to comment about your inauguration speech, but decided against it because it’s been analyzed and annotated by several media outlets such as The New York Times, NPR, Time, Vox, Politico, The Guardian…shall I continue listing the publications?

Saturday, your first full day in office, you went to the CIA and mischaracterized the media as dishonest. The reality is that you don’t like the media because they have pointed to your inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and more recently your deliberate attempts to mislead. In other words, sir, and in plain English, you are a liar.

What unnerves me is your staff has the effrontery to further disguise your lies by spinning it as “alternative facts”. No matter how you spin it, a lie is a lie. And no matter how many times you repeat it, a lie is a lie. But you know that because you’ve lied your entire life. Some of the lies were exaggerations like how many floors exist in Trump Tower or the size of your winery or how wonderful Trump magazine is (we know it folded). Honestly, most of us don’t care about these tall tales.

However, that’s not to say that we shouldn’t be concerned when they turn into delusions that are becoming vendettas. What I mean by that is the delusion you have about illegal voters and losing the popular vote. Of course, given your modus operandi to distract, this could easily be a ruse to create voter suppression laws state by state and eventually to the federal level.

Oh and getting back to numbers, please no more about the crowds who attended the inauguration. There’s proof that it wasn’t as vast, grand, tremendous, huge and so on. And again: WE. DON’T. CARE.

What we care about is the breakdown of diplomatic ties with Mexico. What we care about are the enforcement of gag orders at the EPA, the Interior Department, and the Department of Health and Human Services. What we care about are the highly unqualified people whose credentials make them more likely to dismantle these agencies rather than be caretakers. They have no business running the State Department, the Department of Education, the Treasury, HUD, and on and on and on.

One week after your inauguration, our Democracy is looking bleak, sir. In fact, the Economist Intelligence Unit downgraded it to a “flawed” democracy akin to that of Poland, Mongolia, and Italy. The report predates the election, and you benefitted from it, but you are not improving the situation, and during these past seven days you have made it worse.

I implore you, sir, cast aside your Twitter account, turn off the TV, read books, become more humble, and remember its not all about you and your cronies, but the people of this country who depend on you to wisely govern.

Sincerely,

Rebeca Schiller

Story Genius

January 19, 2017The 'Julius' Chronicles

I’m happy to note I am pleased I’ve prolonged (procrastinated) this revision process. I believe (hope?) I have a pretty good story with conflict, tension, fully developed characters and a story that moves forward at a good clip. In other words, a page turner.

I mentioned back in September I would be attending the Writer Unboxed Unconference and I did. It was a great week with sessions with Lisa Cron, Don Maass and other writers.

Lisa’s sessions were based on her new book Story Genius, which basically tells writers that the way we’ve been approaching story is wrong. During the workshop, she explained that story is internal, not external. It’s the internal change within the character. And before we can actually start writing our story, we need to know what’s going on with our protagonist and get inside her head. Not one of those surveys with 100 questions, but an incident in her early childhood that shaped her thinking. This is what Lisa calls a misbelief. To figure out what this defining moment or misbelief is, Lisa asks us a number of questions that lead to this crucial crux in the character’s life, and that’s when we start writing. Not prewriting, but full fledged, concrete, specic answers to the questions followed by scenes that build the character’s backstory.

I’m about half way through the book and it took me a long time to figure out Corinne’s misbelief. During the exercise, I came to realize that I didn’t know my protagonist as well as I thought especially after all these years of writing. So it came as a surprise that she yearns for acceptance and respect after being told at a young age that if she follows her grandparent’s footsteps she’ll never have any friends.  The next step is to write an origin story of when that misbelief occured. I’ve written four scenes to see how Corinne grows from the age of four and to when she’s 24. The last scene ultimately shatters her confidence.

The writing exercises are tough because you’re being asked to upend the story you’ve written. If you’re married to your current version and reluctant to kill a good chunk of what you’ve written, you might be hesitant to even read the book. However, I recommend that you put aside any reservations and shoulder on. After planting your butt in the chair and completing the writing exercises, you’ll begin to see major shifts in your protagonist and a better story.

You can learn more about Story Genius  on YouTube, and if the video intrigues here’s the link to purchase it on Amazon

Rise Up

January 14, 2017Dear President Trump

I’ve purposely kept away from writing about politics during the election cycle because I thought it was ridiculous to comment after Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump became the Democratic and Republican nominees. Given Mr. Trump’s ignorance on foreign and domestic affairs, I thought it was a fait accompli that Secretary Clinton would be the winner of a too long race. However, November 9th turned into a dark day for Democrats and those of us on the left.

I won’t break down the reasons she lost that’s been done too many times by the talking heads on TV and by columnists in newspapers, but I am puzzled by the support the President-elect received. Thanks to reality TV, we’ve given the keys to power to a snake oil salesman who has dealt the long con to his supporters.

But wait, some of you might be thinking, look how good the stock market is doing. If you read Business Insider’s  Elections and the stock market: History tells us economics matter more than politics. Could it be different this time?” you’ll get a good idea how the market reacts when either a Democrat or Republican wins. Also remember the stock market is not the economy. The stock market reacts to how the economy is performing.

Right now under President Obama’s watch, we’re currently at a 4.9 % unemployment rate (this is the number that interests me) and the stock market is at 19,762.60 (which is meaningless to me since I don’t own any stocks or mutual funds). I could get into a long discussion about the unemployment number and break it down further, but you didn’t come here for an economics lesson. Plus, it’s been a long time since I had to regurgitate what I learned in school and, admittedly, I am a terrible economist. However, if you have the inclination to learn more about the dismal science just read Paul Krugman’s blog The Conscience of a Liberal. Yes, it might raise the hackles of some conservatives but for Pete’s sake, the man won a Nobel prize in economics. He knows what he’s writing about. 

Next Friday, Mr. Trump will be inaugurated—assuming nothing occurs or maybe he’ll stick his foot so deeply down his throat that someone will have the courage to say, “He’s not mentally fit to be president.” I know, not going to happen. The next day, we’ll have the big march in Washington and in other parts of the country. We’ll see whether these will be peaceful protests or someone does something to provoke an incident.

What will I be up to? Writing. If you look at the upper right-hand of the menu, I’ve added a new category: Dear President Trump. The purpose of these public letters will be to educate anyone who chooses to read them, including the man who will occupy the Oval Office if he so desires. I hope what I write gets widely circulated, that readers begin to question the actions coming from the White House and Congress, and that all of us can rise up, unite and bring back some light and hope to this country.

In the meantime, if you want to see change, start making small ones every day. For instance, it will be unavoidable, but try to boycott all news channels and don’t watch the inauguration and the festivities that follow. Don’t buy from companies that sell licensed Trump items. Don’t make reservations at his hotels, play at his golf clubs, don’t watch The Apprentice. More importantly, take the time to learn the issues and how this country runs. Don’t wait until the next election to boot out your representatives. Get active now.