Thursday, June 28, 2012

That's the Big Deal

Just over an hour ago, it was announced that the Supreme Court upheld "Obamacare" and the individual mandate.  I clapped and smiled as the news broke.  On the news broadcasts, the reporters are discussing what this means politically: how does this help Obama's reelection chances?  How does this galvanize Republicans?  How vigorously can Romney attack, given that his health care system in Massachusetts was the model for the ACA?

All this is important... Elections matter.  But Josh Marshall at TalkingPointsMemo puts it well:

[T]he politics of the decision pales before its substance, a fact that I suspect will get little attention today. This decision will have a massive effect on the lives of literally millions of people. Mitt Romney may have joked yesterday that the White House was “not sleeping real well” last night. But a lot of people tonight and in the future will sleep a lot better for this result. Young people, people with pre-existing conditions and mainly people who through the chaos of the health care market simply find themselves with no coverage. 
That’s the big deal. 
What also matters is: we may learn that President Obama sacrificed his presidency to push through this piece of legislation — the Dems already lost Congress over it. But presidencies are for doing important things not just for getting elected to second terms in office. And I strongly suspect that even if Mitt Romney wins and gets a Republican Congress, they still won’t be able to get rid of this law. 
That counts. That matters. 
This is an imperfect law. But what’s most important is that it provides a structure under which the country can make a start not only on universal coverage — as an ethical imperative — but on doing away with the waste and inefficiencies created by the chronic market failure of the US health insurance system. Again, that matters. And I suspect that there’s no going back.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Coffee Coffee Coffee

I developed my taste for coffee as a child, finishing cups my mom left unguarded:  it was lukewarm, creamy, and especially sweet from all the sugar that had sunk to the bottom.

Years later, as a teen in France staying with a host family, I was served giant mugs of black coffee (I declined the milk; it looked weird).  I remember going to the school, shaking from the caffeine pulsing through my veins.

In college, I developed my habit: at least a cup a day.

The past couple months, I've brought a large thermos of coffee to work.  Three cups a day became my norm.

Despite all this coffee, I felt tired.  No amount of caffeine seemed to perk me up.  So two weeks ago, I gave up my morning coffee.  At work, during the middle of the day, I drank a small glass. But the next day, I didn't.  Now I drink tea some mornings; I did have a cappuccino on Saturday.  At work today I stared at our Keurig single-cup machine.  I thought about how much I'd love some coffee.  But I didn't make any.

I'm weaning myself off, and so far I've been lucky enough to avoid headaches.  I don't mean to give up coffee completely: I just don't want to be so dependent.

I'll also be glad when it doesn't consume my every thought :)

(There's an episode of "Gilmore Girls" where, because the main character is in a fight with Luke, the diner owner, Lorelei has to go to a new place for coffee.  She orders, "Coffee coffee coffee!" The woman, not understanding Lorelei's enthusiasm for coffee, brings out three mugs of it.  If you haven't watched "Gilmore Girls," I recommend it.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Chapter One

My manuscript is currently in the hands of a select few trusted readers.  I'm waiting for feedback and criticism that will, hopefully, help me shape the book into something publishers will want.  Saturday I met with one of my "beta" readers--my awesome critique partner who's been there every step of the way--and received some invaluable feedback.

Not only did she meticulously read it, line by line, noting what she liked with exclamation points, and noting what didn't work and why, but she also articulated what I hadn't been able to put into words: the first chapter seems told in a different voice.

I spent the longest on chapter one.  I had to make sure it did everything I needed the first chapter to do:  Introduce important details and set the stage for the mystery and plot to follow.  Time and care were spent getting my paragraphs just right.

But as I wrote and got to know the character better, I'd like to think I became more comfortable.  The sentences flowed more smoothly.

Knowing some of the problems with the first chapter, I can return to it and improve it.  When I tried to do this a couple months ago, I had trouble even adding a sentence to it.  I think I was still too close to the words.  Now, fortunately, they're less "darling" to me.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Setting Myself Up

For the past couple months, my laptop was on the coffee table.  I sat on the edge of the couch, hunched my body, and did whatever I wanted on the computer: Check Reds scores or watch Hulu or Netflix; read blogs and "like" things on Facebook; yell at politicians.  I had the world at my fingertips.   Click, click, click.

But you know what's hard to do, hunched over on a couch?  Write.  It's awkward and uncomfortable.  Even leaning back on the couch, my laptop on my lap, I found myself avoiding Blogger.  I focused for a few minutes before switching to a tab that gave me more instant gratification.

I've been beating myself up for not writing and for not wanting to write.  I've been angry that I haven't found any inspiration for writing.  But I have to give myself a chance, right?  Today I moved my laptop back to my awesome desk, in the room with my giant penguin and comfortable office chair.

We'll see what happens.