Tag 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

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Update

Hello, all.

It’s been nearly two months since I’ve written anything.  And I still have readers.  Y’all are awesome.

The good news is that the wait is almost over.  Now that a technical issue that turned out to be little more than a misunderstanding on my part has been resolved (once again, I curse the lost time!), matthewkeville.com will be going live in just a few weeks.  The new website will have a new tumblr, a new Facebook page, a new blog and more.  The Twitter will stay the same, though.  The blog will be handled a little differently, with more of a focus on writing and literature, maybe a little bit less of the personal and the political.  I will be importing a number of my favorite posts, things like reviews and writing theory posts, that I believe are still suited to the new focus.  I’ll also be reprinting a number of my short stories (and writing new ones!), so there should be plenty of material.

Stay tuned!

 

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Where I’ve Been

Hey, all.

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Since Thanksgiving.  And I see I still have some readers.  I’m honored, I really am.

If you’re wondering where I’ve been, well…I’ve been working and writing as usual…and I’ve been thinking very hard about this article by Jane Friedman.  I’ve explored the rest of her site a bit, but it all comes back to that article.

What I’ve decided, after all that thought, is that I’ve been going about all of this the wrong way.

When I started Dreams of the Shining Horizon, my primary goal was to gain a wider audience for my writing.  I had a lot of other things to say – things I’d been waiting to say for years, in some cases – but ultimately, the goal was to get the word out about my fiction.  I was inspired by people I knew, and knew of, who had started out by blogging and ended up publishing.

What I didn’t understand was that I had it backwards.  Those people had started with a passion, and a desire to share it.  They would have been satisfied to blog indefinitely, but they managed to build a body of material and an audience that allowed them to publish.  Me, I had a body of material, and I wanted to build an audience, and it seems that there’s a different path for people like me – a different set of steps.  And I believe it’s time I started following those steps.

(Long past time, really.  That article may only be a few months old, but I’m sure that articles like it have been circulating for years.  And of course, some of it should have been common sense.  I mean, I’m trying to build an audience, but the name of my blog doesn’t even reference my brand?)

What all this amounts to is that change is coming.

I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to launch matthewkeville.com with the New Year, like I might have hoped.  There are some issues with the domain registration that I need to resolve first, then of course I need to build the actual site.  In the end, rough estimate, I could be looking at maybe March.

(For the record, if you want to follow Jane Friedman’s instructions yourself, and you choose Bluehost as I did, get your account there as your first step.  They are also a domain name registrar, and you can register the domain name for your Author’s Website through them, and not have to transfer it from another registrar like I’m going to need to do.)

I have at least two more major posts to go at this blog – two more things to say – but once matthewkeville.com goes up (I’ll definitely let you know when), I’ll be shifting operations over there.  I hope most of you will follow me when I go.  I won’t be starting entirely from scratch: I’ll be reposting my reviews, my writing theory posts, my autobiographical posts, and anything else that seems relevant to authoring, so there will be plenty to read right from the get-go.

Oh.  Something else that will be changing: the way I’m marketing my writing.  I’ve cancelled the auto-renewal on the KDP Select membership for Hometown and The Truth of Rock and Roll.  Once the current period of enrollment ends, I’ll be putting them back up on Smashwords (and all associated websites), plus maybe one or two more.  I had to try it, but the benefits of the KDP Select program – and there were some, make no mistake – didn’t outweigh losing other channels of distribution.

At the same time, I’ll be taking all of my short stories down.  There have been some sales, but on the whole, putting them up piecemeal, one at a time, hasn’t done anyone any good.  Instead, I’ll publish them in collections once I get together enough on a particular theme.  That way, I’ll be able to provide them with real cover art, instead of pictures downloaded from Shutterstock, and people will be able to read more in the downloadable samples than the title page (seriously, this is something else I should have seen before.  A 10% sample of a 7-page story is not enough to get a good idea what the story is about!).  I may post new short stories in the blog section of matthewkeville.com before I put them into the collections.  I’m not sure yet how I’m going to handle that.

I don’t know if you can tell, but as much as I’m excited and hopeful about all this, I’m also a bit frustrated and tired.  I know it’s a serious character flaw, but even if everything works out exactly the way I hope it will – and I know just how slim the chances for that really are – I’m not the sort of person who can look at my mistakes, shrug, and say “Welp, it got me where I am today.  I have no regrets.”  I do regret.  I count every mistake and wrong path as time gone from a finite lifetime.

Still.  It’s New Year’s Eve.  I will curse the lost time and cast myself into the future.

We’re down to the last few hours.  Let’s watch it burn, and hope something better rises from the ashes.  Happy New Year to you all.

 

 

 

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