Category Archives: My Life

Two Thoughts

Not Real America

It pisses me off when I hear people talking about New York City as if it’s not part of Real America.  Hell, lots of people actually use the name as shorthand for “Not Real America”: “Maybe they do things that way in New York City, but not around here.”

Here’s the thing: as of 2015, New York City had a population of 8,550,405 people.  As of 2016, the United States has a population of 323,127,513.  Do a quick calculation, and that gives you 2.65% of the total population of the United States.  In just that one city.  Nearly three out of every hundred Americans live in New York City, and those Americans are a true cross-section of this country.  Every race, creed, color, country of origin, gender and sexuality that calls America home lives in this City.  We are Real America.

 

Two Surprise Attacks

I have in mind two surprise attacks: Pearl Harbor and D-Day.

D-Day was just the first step in a larger plan.  On D-Day itself, many units had objectives to capture roads, bridges and towns that were instrumental to the overall invasion.  By the next day, the beachheads had become supply depots, moving troops, vehicles, fuel and materiel into the breach in Fortress Europe.

Pearl Harbor caused terrible damage (though less than it could have, by purest luck), but it had no plan for follow-up, and in the end it only enraged and mobilized the enemy: awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.

Trump and his cronies wanted their first few weeks in the White House to be D-Day.  But when you kick out the only guy who knows anything about actually running a government (however corrupt he might have been), refuse to attend briefings, issue proclamations as if the judicial and legislative branches (or even the affected departments) have no input as to whether or not your will be done, and generally fly by the seat of your Nazi Chief Adviser’s pants, you don’t get D-Day.  You get Pearl Harbor.

Leave a comment

Filed under My Life, Politics

Guardian Angel

angel-pin-do-essay

A little over two weeks ago, I wore this pin to the Women’s March on New York.

It wasn’t just a fancier variation on the iconic safety pin, though it was also that.

When I went to the Women’s March, I was worried there might be trouble: police crackdowns, counter protesters, provocateurs…who knows?  So I wore this pin for…luck isn’t the right word.  Not nearly strong enough.  This pin is the closest thing I’ve ever experienced to magic.

I bought this pin back in college when my then-girlfriend passed out for no reason we could discover while we were walking across one of the lawns.  I gave it to her to watch over her in my stead while she was in the hospital being examined.  Nothing was found, and she never had the problem again.

Some time later, we loaned the angel to a girl in our dorm whose brother back in Romania had been in a car accident, and all she could do was worry and weep.  We gave her the angel and told her that it was good luck.  A few days later, she gave it back, no longer worried and weeping.  Her brother would be all right.

Some time after that, a girl from our dorm was raped at a frat party.  We loaned her the pin, and…she slept a little better.  She said it felt like we were watching over her and it kept some of the nightmares away.  Sometimes even magic can only do so much.

There have been others.  And it always seemed to work.  So when I say that pin is magic, I mean that it’s a ward.  It’s protection.  And if this angel is a guardian angel, as it seems to be, then it seems to watch over women.

It worked again on the day of the March, though of course we were never in actual danger that I know of.  There are logical explanations for all of the other good things that happened, too.  I’m still going to wear this pin to every future protest I attend.  May the angel protect the women around me; their enemy is in power.

Leave a comment

Filed under My Life, Politics

The Minor Annoyance That Destroys Other People’s Lives

I got a bit of a shock when I opened the mail yesterday: I was being charged a little over $1,000 for some tests that my doctor had ordered during my yearly physical a few weeks ago.

I didn’t panic.  For one thing, I knew it had to be a mistake.  I’ve never been charged for tests associated with my yearly physical before.  For another, well, if it turned out that my insurance coverage really had changed that much when I the company re-negotiated this year, I could cover it.

Fortunately, that turned out to not be the case.  I made a few phone calls, and it turned out that the doctor’s office had made an ever-so-tiny mistake with the billing.  A box not checked, a form not filed, something like that.  The insurance company got in touch, the situation got resolved, and no more thousand dollar bill.

It was an enormous relief, but in my relief, I got to thinking: what about the people who don’t know how to navigate the system, even to the rudimentary degree I did?  What about people who aren’t taken seriously, or who can’t speak the language well enough to make their problem understood?  Why, they’d be stuck with the thousand dollar bill.  This is how the poor get poorer.

And of course, that’s leaving out the people who don’t have insurance at all.  Chances are good that they wouldn’t have gone to the doctor in the first place.  That’s how the poor get dead.

Leave a comment

Filed under My Life, Politics

I’m Back

Hey, all.  Sorry for the long radio silence.  Part of it was for personal reasons: while I was incommunicado, Red Molly and I got married and went on our honeymoon.  If you ever have the opportunity to vacation at Sandals Montego Bay, I highly recommend it.  The ocean is like bathwater, and the food and drinks are delicious.  There are dozens of activities, but you can just as easily do nothing.  Watch out for the incidentals, though – you might not believe your eyes when you look at the form for their laundry service, but it really does cost a couple bucks per garment.

Of course, one could argue that I wasn’t exactly chatty before that.  I’ve spent a great deal of this year trying to work out what the balance should be between this blog and my new site, and on the whole, this blog has lost out.

Going forward, that’s going to change.

You see, I was recently invited to become a contributor at My Trending Stories, a site that aims to “give the power back to the creatives”.  This looks like a big opportunity to get wider exposure, and it’s my writing at this blog that got it for me.

On a more pragmatic level, this blog continues to have more followers and pageviews than my new site, despite all my neglect.

So here’s what’s going to happen going forward: this blog is going to be my “premiere theatre”.  Reviews, articles, first drafts of fiction…all of that will appear here first (with that in mind, it seems like the place could use a bit of renovating.  Anyway…).  My Trending Stories will be the “second-run theatre” or “syndication”, if you will.  They explicitly stated in their invitation that I could use reprints from my blog, so that’s what I’m going to do.  Finally, my Author’s Website will be my archive and my bookstore.  The blog will be for announcing new releases, and there will be pages containing my reviews, writing theory essays, and other things I think should be saved permanently (blog posts both here and there when those go up).

And I’m going to start liking, sharing, and commenting on my friends’ posts again, which is something I should never have let go for so long.

Glad to be back – hope y’all are still with me.

Leave a comment

Filed under Links, My Life

Please Help Dacey

Hey, all. Earlier this week, the daughter of one of my high school friends was on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend to visit colleges when they suffered a terrible car wreck. The boyfriend was killed, and the daughter is in…bad condition. Please go to Dacey’s Gofundme and do what you can to help with the family’s medical costs. If you can’t give, then please spread the word.

The poor kid’s life was just starting to really get going, and it’s going to be so much harder from this point on. Please do what you can to help.

Leave a comment

Filed under Links, My Life

Open at my new location

Hey, all!

MatthewKeville.com is officially open for business!  It’s still a little plain right now, but there will be new features coming soon, once I’ve had a chance to speak with some of my more tech-savvy friends.  In the meantime, the fundamentals are in place: read About the Author, shop at the Bookstore, and come back every Thursday (if not more often) for new posts on the blog!

Check it out!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under My Life

What I Wouldn’t Give…

“Anything lost can be found again, except time.  Just like every other creative person I know, I have ten thousand projects that I want to do and only one lifetime to do them in.  I constantly have to remind myself of what’s really important and what I really should be concentrating on.”
–    Joseph Michael Linsner

As you might expect, I haven’t exactly been idle in the two months since I last posted on this blog.  The problem is that I haven’t exactly been productive, either.  It’s not that I haven’t been writing; it’s that I’ve been working on side projects, on the theory that, with the development of the website unavoidably delayed (once again I curse you, technical problem that was really just a misunderstanding on my part, and all the time lost as a result!), this was the time to get them done.

I still thought I could do all ten thousand projects in one lifetime.  The universe had been trying to tell me for some time that I can’t.  I’d found the poem “You Want a Social Life, With Friends” by Kenneth Koch taped up on an English professor’s door; a Facebook friend posted a quote by Steve Jobs about how focus isn’t about saying “yes” to one good idea, it means saying “no” to the hundred other good ideas you had at the same time.

And still I tried to deny that it applied to me.  Still I wanted to do the ten thousand things.

Then this past week hit me with a one-two-three combo.  First, I saw this trailer:

If you haven’t seen American Pop, I thoroughly recommend it.  It is indeed a movie of beauty and power, but if I have one complaint, it’s that it’s not nearly as musical as the trailer makes it seem.

Anyway, seeing that trailer, I began to ask myself: were the projects I was working on actually helping me to “grab it, hold it, and make [myself] heard”, or even work toward it?  Oh, they were great fun, but that was actually part of the problem.  Because last Friday, the second punch of the combo hit me: I took a look at those projects, and realized just how much I’d accomplished on those projects in the past two months.  I’d actually done a lot of work.  My new habits of setting a three-page-a-day goal for myself and focusing on one project, instead of having half-a-dozen documents open at a time, were paying off.

And they weren’t contributing to the career I’m trying to build.  I’d spent a lot of time, energy and pages on those projects, and they were not going to help me grab it, hold it, and make myself heard.

Then, on Saturday, I was reading an art book of Joseph Michael Linsner’s works, and I saw the quote at the top of this post.  And that was enough.  Anticlimactic but true.

I went out for a walk after that, a long walk, and I started thinking: I’ve often looked at people who are successful in their art and thought “what I wouldn’t give”.  But what have I given?  Anything?  Oh, I’ve given the time and the work, but that’s not even worth considering.  Like Benny says in the trailer, this isn’t work.  This is play.  I’ve got a full and busy life, and that’s good, but it means that I require a lot of focus to get any meaningful writing done.  I don’t have time to waste, if I ever really did.

How can I say “What I wouldn’t give” if I won’t even sacrifice some fun but distracting side projects?

So that’s what I’ve done.  One of them is probably gone for good, while the other – a tabletop roleplaying game that I would very much like to finish if only so I can play it – I hope to get back out again someday.  I’m a little sad about it, but someone wise once said that a good writer must be willing to kill their darlings, and it’s time for me to realize that that’s what I need to do.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Inspirations, My Life, Writing Theory