America: The Best Idea Ever

Now that we’ve all had some sleep, let’s get back to reason. My candidate didn’t win. I’m okay with that and even optimistic now. We might actually get something done. Or the world will end. Either way, I’m fairly adaptable.

I cried when Jimmy Carter lost. I was eight, and people made me believe that Reagan was going to start a nuclear war (My generation grew up knowing we’d die in a nuclear war). But Reagan didn’t start a nuclear war. Instead, he destroyed Communism, and he’ll go down as the best president of my lifetime (despite what some try to make you believe).

I haven’t cried about my candidate losing an election since Carter. Know why? Because I’ve made my own life. Obama didn’t end America, like many said he would. Bush didn’t end America, like many said he would. Both left us worse off, or flat, but life continued. Bill Clinton was a lot of fun to watch. For my generation, he changed how we see presidents, and made us believe anyone could become president. Which, in hindsight, was probably a bad idea … but still.

What I’m saying is that there has never been a president that affected my life all that much. When I’ve screwed up – and I’ve really screwed up a few times – it was my fault. It wasn’t President Clinton’s fault. When I’ve been successful, it’s been because I made good choices, worked my butt off, and surrounded myself with people better and smarter than me. It wasn’t Reagan that brought me success when things went well. I did it on my own, and I did it with the help of people who cared about me personally. People who knew me. Trump doesn’t know me. Hillary doesn’t know me. Reagan didn’t know me. They don’t know or understand you either, but the people who love you do.

America is strong. We are not Germany in 1933. Germany was weak. We have a system that protects us from dingbats. Obama didn’t bring in social rights. You did – our society did, and the Supreme Court interpreted our adaptable Constitution for our modern society. We will continue and we’ll get better because we’re adaptable. We’ll continue because America is the best idea in the history of humanity. People have been predicting the end since about 1776. It hasn’t happened yet.

American will be fine, and so will you.

Art in Everything

Two Door Station Wagon
My great aunt had a car like this in her driveway. Her station wagon was not in perfect condition like this car. In fact, her car was rotted to the ground and used to store old pieces of wood. My dad would say that two door station wagons were rare, and he wanted to restore the car someday. He never got a chance to restore it before it melted into the ground, but he did see the hidden beauty beyond the poison ivy and dust that clung to the car. Even though it was just a station wagon, it was built with a love of design, creation, and style. It was built as art. Functional art, but still art. We don’t see that as often these days. Just compare almost any building built before the 1970s with buildings today. Unless money will be made by the building being beautiful, the building is functional and comfortable, but not art. New hotels are sometimes beautiful and interesting, but only because there’s money to be made, and this beauty is often superficial, and like a superficial person one leaves the interaction feeling empty. New hotels are built to be beautiful because of what it does for the business, not what it does for souls.

But this car is art. It has carried families in style. Back in the day, when it drove by people didn’t see a machine. They saw true beauty. When this car was designed, the engineers didn’t have efficient computers to help them draw the lines. They used pencil and paper and maybe clay. They got their hands dirty. They sweated and lost sleep. They poured their souls into this car. Like a painter or a musician, they created.

I’m not knocking technology or innovation. We are doing more now than ever before. We are in the beginning of a revolution that will lead to solar electric homes which will recharge solar powered cars, and end our dependence on dirty and dangerous energy sources. We are a few years away from ubiquitous autonomous cars, a revolution that will be as big as the one from horse and buggy to automobiles. It will be a revolution that will bring transportation to those who wouldn’t have had it otherwise. What I am against is the loss of art. I understand budgets, and how functionality usually wins, but it’s time to let art rise again. It’s again time to let it be a part of everything we do.

Why do workers feel like they are dying when they spend large portions of their lives in cubicle farms looking at black bordered computer screens? Why do those same workers decorate their cubes with art from their kids or pictures of vacation destinations? Why do they put on headphones and hardly notice or know the person sitting two cubes away? It’s because we’ve automated everything for improved efficiency and use of space, but forgotten how to retain humanity in the efficiency. We’ve forgotten how to keep art in the efficiency. Art is Humanity. Or maybe humanity is art.

Let’s bring back art to everything. Let’s make it all beautiful, or even appalling, but let’s create toward interesting. We lose sleep over making machines works. Let’s lose sleep again over making them art.

Create for Others

I received my copies of Eight Days last night. Seeing your story in a book is always fun, but it’s scary too. When you create something, and really put your soul into the work, it’s difficult to expose yourself. I’m fairly internal, and I like my privacy, but I also believe that creativity should be shared. I believe it’s a gift, and while it may be satisfying for the artist, creative works must be shared so others can take what they need from the work. Once they are created, they are no longer ours. They belong to others who may look at the creation and grow or heal, or simply may enjoy the work. I get frustrated – no saddened – when I think about all the books, short stories, poems, and art that we’ll never see because the creator can’t share their work. There are reasons for this, including fear and lack of confidence , but I wish more creators could find the motivation to create and then the courage to share. If you have a story, share it. If you can paint or draw, do so and let others see it. If you’ve been given the gift to create something beautiful or important, I hope you’ll fight through your doubt and let the others see what you have given to them.

Eight Days novel

What Was Mine Will be Yours

I read an interview with Paul McCartney the other day, and he was talking about the meaning of a song he wrote with the Beatles. When he was writing the song he was inspired by events of that time. What it meant to him, the writer of the song, was completely different from the meaning the song had for me. But, you know, that’s okay. Art is supposed to be subjective. Like my friend, Dr. Leverett Butts, once said to me, “It doesn’t matter what the author meant. It matters what he said.” And, what the creator of a work says will be heard differently by different people.

In about a month my new novel, Eight Days, will be released. Many events in my life inspired the book, and I saw what I needed to see while writing, but when others read the book it will have different meanings to them. And, for some, it will mean nothing. That’s fine too. Every single creative work isn’t meant to appeal to everyone. But for some it will have meaning, and the book will then be their story. Or maybe it will be your book. What was mine will soon be yours.

A Novel Idea

Sometimes Eight Daysstory ideas come from one event or thing, but the ideas in Eight Days came slowly. I had lost several people to death in the few years before I began writing this book, but I found that I dealt with their passings well. I soon realized that even though I missed them, I wasn’t destroyed because I knew I would see them again. Despite questioning everything about religion, I had never lost my faith, even when I had tried.  Deep down I had always known that there was more beyond what we see here. Life continues, I realized, and with this realization, I knew I had to tell the story of life merging into eternity the best way I could.
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Eight DaysI’m proud to announce my new novel, Eight Days, will be released in early 2016. I’ve included the synopsis of the book below. This is the fourth book I’ve written, and the second that will be published. The other two books were learning opportunities, and something of a catharsis. This is nothing unique, I’m sure, and I think writing is a truly Zen activity that brings one closer to their real self. Everyone should create in the way that is best for them. It can be anything that allows a person to focus on something deeply satisfying. Anything that centers your mind will do, including music, art, or even something like gardening or woodwork.

 

Eight DaysScott Thompson author
Clive Kinsella lived a good life. He had a family who loved him and he was never without a job, a place to live, or a warm meal. But Clive died unfulfilled. Despite all his gifts he could only see what he didn’t have. He never wrote for a big newspaper in a big city. He never traveled the world. In fact, he never got out of his small Southern town. And … he never faced the ghosts that haunted him.
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New Novel – Eight Days