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Monday, March 6, 2017

The Writer's Life 3/6 - Counter Moves

I know the President is a counter-puncher and I expect him to hit back at those who attack him, but I wonder how prudent it is to demand an investigation into whether his offices in Trump Towers were bugged by Obama's minions. The left wishes to distract him from the business at hand: tax cuts, repatriation of the money corporations have banked overseas, the replacement of Obamacare, and energy independence. He should remain focused on doing things that will create an atmosphere that will have the economy humming. I hope it's simply bluster. My opinion of politicians is so low that I expect the worst. I don't know if the accusations are true, but it wouldn't surprise me if they are. I'm not even sure they're a big deal.

When I was re-writing Five Cents, which is set in the early to mid-'70's, I tried to capture the tumultuous atmosphere of the times. One aspect I was unable to incorporate was the disheartening racial turmoil I witnessed on the campus of Western Michigan University. Since the main character lives off-campus and is a Master's candidate, he doesn't have a feel for what's going on in dorms. His info is secondhand. Before he went to Vietnam, he was an underclassman during the mid-'60's, when campus life was almost idyllic. So I mentioned the racial tensions only briefly. I'm now 110 pages into the proofing of my next novel, Present and Past, scheduled for self-publication in January. It follows lifelong friends, opposites in personality, who undertake a cross-country automobile trip. They stop in Kalamazoo, where the main character went to college. As they walk around his former dorm complex, he recounts, among other things, the racial tension that seemed to begin at WMU in '69. It was ugly. What a contrast the atmosphere was from my freshman year, 1967. I know it didn't occur overnight, but it sure seemed like it. America hasn't been the same since. In many ways (medical advances, the internet, to name just two), it's better. It was never quite Ozzie and Harriet, but it now seems more Married with Children.

I was more curious than usual about how the floating book shop would fare, given the large cache of books I picked up yesterday. As I was setting up, a woman came along and bought three large volumes of works in Russian. Another followed and bought four. Although that was end of the foreign sales, there were several in English. A young mom bought two Danielle Steel romances, a young man bought Strasberg at the Actors Studio: Tape-Recorded Sessions by Robert H. Hethmon (Editor) & Burgess Meredith, and a middle age woman purchased Sue Grafton's I Is for Innocent. Only the latter was not from yesterday's haul. When my benefactor, Mayor Mike, heard the good news he was ecstatic. He told me about the woman who'd left the books behind. She was abused by her husband and occasionally called Mike to vent. He always advised her to call the cops - he was only a Super. She did so only once and it led to the creep's arrest. Unfortunately, she took him back. Mike expects he will eventually kill her. He went on to tell me about how his dad once socked his mom in the eye. She threw him out. For months he would sit on the stoop across the street until one day he summoned the courage to beg to be taken back. He was, but that wasn't the end of the story. While he was sleeping his wife plunged a knife into his shoulder. He cried out, drawing Mike to the room. He heard his mom say: "If you ever raise a hand to me again, I'll kill you." He hasn't since. They are now in their 80's.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
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