Two of My Books Available Downtown

Dolores Vest and me with two of my books, which are now on the shelves.

Two of my most recent books–the memoir Burning the Furniture and the novel CLOG!–are now available downtown, in Dolores Vest’s Booked No Further at 16 West Market Place..

Go by and see Dolores, who has an impressive, though small, space in the mini-mall and has packed it with good reads, including quite a number from this region’s talent pool of writers.

Justifying the Unjustifiable with Via Abortion

Most of us on the left have been scratching our heads since the day Donald Trump was elected president, wondering how in the world otherwise good Americans could vote for a man who seems to hate us all.

One of my Facebook “friends” is a guy named Jerry Basham, a Christian conservative and ardent anti-abortion advocate whose arguments about voting for Trump almost always come down to abortion. He’s pretty direct about it, which is unusual, even saying he’d vote for a liberal if the liberal was opposed to abortion and his conservative opponent was not.

I asked him at one point if he’d vote for anti-abortion Adolph Hitler against pro abortion Hillary Clinton. He avoided a direct response for several exchanges and finally allowed as how he’d not vote at all. But he wasn’t voting for Clinton. She is pro-abortion.

Here’s Jerry’s explanation: “It was either Hilary or Trump last election. Not a great field. As far as Christians go, a lot of this immorality with Trump is so depicted in the media as truth, especially by CNN. Some feel it is only because of political motivation. Also the religious community is so appalled with abortion they choose the less of two evils. They think, is it worse to kill an unborn child or better to put up with Trump? Almost every time they will say Trump because it is the higher issue not to kill the child.”

And Stormy Daniels? “He is already president. Not turning a blind eye. I choose the candidate that is in power. Next election give me a candidate against abortion with better morals and leadership I will vote for them. I didn’t know about the porn lady.” Oh, my, Jerry. How quaint: “porn lady.”

Regardless of how you feel about guns, the environment, women’s rights, gerrymandering, porn ladies, international standing, energy or the absolute chaos of the White House, it comes down to abortion for many of Trump’s supporters–I’d estimate a majority of them, frankly. Republicans have often ridden abortion to victory across the country and I’d say it got both Bushes and Trump elected. I believe that in many red districts–especially those traditionally blue–it’s the difference between a congressman who is (R) or (D).

I don’t think there is a solution, either. You are either against abortion or you are for it. I don’t like it, but I also don’t like the idea of taking control of a woman’s body from her to satisfy your religious beliefs. And there is a bigger argument in my world: the most significant problem facing humanity is excessive population. We have far too many people and the needs of those people (sometimes just the wants) are overwhelming the Earth’s ability to provide them. Food, water, shelter, energy and humanity are disappearing at an alarming rate–much like the erasure of the arctic ice caps. We’re doing that because there are so many of us.


A Sparkling Documentary at Roanoke College

‘Obit’ director Vanessa Gould with Roanoke College President Mike Maxey.

Vanessa Gould, film maker.

Tonight offered the second superb opportunity in the past few weeks for those of us either in the newspaper business, or we who have left it to get a perspective via film of the industry.

The Academy Award-nominated Hollywood movie “The Post” is getting all the press–so to speak–but Vanessa Gould’s little documentary, “Obit,” which I saw (with Ms. Gould a couple of rows away) last night at Roanoke College may be its equal, though a documentary.

This is a close examination of the obituary department of the New York Times, one of the few organizations big enough to still have a department strictly devoted to the recently departed. And was it ever illuminating. An old friend, who was at the showing, said, “There were points when I forgot I was watching a movie and thought I was there.”

It was that compelling, which makes the fact that there were almost no newspaper people in the audience all the sadder. Those who were present are mostly old (like me) newsies who revere what we used to know of the business. Much of what we admired is history, I’m afraid.

In any case, I was taken by the obit writers who were interviewed, people with sparkling resumes in the news business. One actually said, writing obituaries has “next to nothing to do with death and almost everything to do with life.” Another, talking about researching subjects of recent death, observed that “the thing you were looking for leads you to the thing you weren’t looking for, which is often better.” That applies to just about any storytelling, but I imagine it would be especially applicable to the obit, where you’re writing about people you don’t know, but find out you would loved to have known.

The movie is available on Amazon Prime and would be well worth your while to invest a little of your time. If only for old time’s sake.