I put the headings in bold so that you can choose any topic that you are interested in.
Regarding the Election: I gave up a long time ago with the quest of changing people’s minds on candidates. With that said, as an ex-evangelical, I am still concerned about the blending of Christianity with any secular philosophy including American nationalism or a political party. When I was an evangelical I participated in handing out “voter guides,” which I did not realize at the time, were constructed with a cooperation between the Republican party and some evangelical leaders. We were so convinced that only the Republican party was in step with Christianity that there should never be one Christian vote cast for a Democrat. Then we are left with the situation where evangelicals vote for a Republican candidate no matter how horrible that candidate is. This was a well planned out strategy by the Republican party to create a brand that was palatable to the Christian church by using emotionally charged terms like “pro life” and “sanctity of marriage.” But this whole process of blending Christianity with any political party is unBiblical. Before I say more I will give a link to our pastor’s sermon last (here) Sunday, which addressed this topic rather well.
Caner Update: Last Tuesday I was able to get established as a patient at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance’s Multiple Myeloma Clinic. Before, I was only a patient of their stem cell transplant unit and they could not follow my care outside the transplant. The Multiple Myeloma specialist on Tuesday agrees that I’m in a good partial remission and nothing needs to be done now. But we set up parameters that if and when my cancer starts to surge (and that is the typical path of MM) I can quickly come back and get set up on the next step. The next step is not so clear right now because the field of MM treatment is rapidly changing. That’s good news as new treatments are continuing to appear. Of course I still have my constellation of nagging symptoms and must continue walking the tightrope of renal failure.
Headache Clinic: I realize that I have several of my old patients who follow this blog. I’ve mentioned before that I had full intention of coming back to work after my bone marrow transplant, but was laid off as I attempted to return to work. Basically, the hospital said if I could not come back at 100% they did not want me. I could not do that so they closed the clinic. Then my partner in the clinic, Dr. Moren, and I started the groundwork of a new clinic in Bellingham. Then COVID hit, which meant that I could not work with contact with the pubic and that put an end to that. Dr. Moren is seriously attempting to created that clinic now, so keep your ear to the ground. Will I ever be part of that? I don’t know. I can’t (because of my risk factors) until COVID is under control. A vaccine? I will keep you posted, but hopefully Dr. Moren will get back into practice and offer the high standard of care that we did at the Island Hospital Headache Clinic.
Quarantine: I know that we are in this together. I don’t know how I survived last winter when I was almost in total isolation for weeks (Denise working long hard hours). But for the grace of God, I think I would have lost my mind. With COVID-19 making the long predicted surge, I will start to enter more of a self-imposed quarantine again. For me COVID 19 would be a death sentence. I am so thankful that Denise has a new job that allows her to work from home. That is a blessing and a lifeboat in the sea of insanity.
Writing: I also know that I have some followers here who are writers and, like me, writers wannabe. I have finished the first draft of my book Retribution. I have two readers looking at it right now in its rough form and will give me feedback. I will spend the next few months re-writing and fine tuning it. I really want to make this my best book ever and approach the big publishing houses. Because of this tedious process, it will be several months before it is published. I’ve taken several online courses in creative writing and will attend a virtual writing workshop offered by a local college, this week end. I am always striving to do better.
I wanted to talk about the dark side of being a writer wannabe. What brings this to mind was a set of emails and phone calls I got this week. It was from a national syndicated Christian radio / TV show that wanted me to come on and do an interview about my book, Butterflies in the Belfry. Now for a writer, you think that such an opportunity would be a godsend. However, I did not return their calls or emails. The reason brings up an important topic for writers.
First of all, while I think this recent contact was legitimate, there are many, many which are not. I have emails daily with people stroking my ego, trying to get me to take the bait. There is a whole cottage industry of people selling stuff to writers wannabe. For example, I was harrassed for weeks by someone in Hollywood (checked the number and it really was a Hollywood number) who was leaving messages and emails that they wanted to make a movie based on my book. Finally the guy left a voicemail that my book Butterflies in the Belfry would make a great movie. When he said that, I knew that he was full of crap, had never read the book and it was a con. That book would make a horrible movie. These groups try to get you to sign contracts for large sums of money and then nothing comes from that. It would be hard to hear any real opportunity within the chatter and background noise of the daily deluge of fake opportunities.
The reason that I decided to not pursue this radio / tv interview is two fold. First, maybe it would create sales of 500 copies of Butterflies in the Belfry, but is it worth the emotional toil. But here’s the downside. I wrote the book with the goal of telling my story and to give a third path for many who see only two paths, staying and accepting all the tenets of evangelicalism, or fleeing to agnosticism or atheism. People are leaving evangelicalism in droves. My path, which I explore in Butterflies in the Belfry, is to stake out a new (actually old) version of Christianity. What happened was many devotees of evangelicalism read the book, were offended and felt obligated to write me and to tell me I was going to hell. That’s what I’m afraid would happen if I promoted that book now. I also believe that I’m a better writer now and I do not want to shine a light on that rustic work. I was happy, and this may be the highlight of my writing career, my two favorite writers, Philip Yancey and NT Wright, both read Butterflies in the Belfry and sent me nice letters telling me they liked it.