Sunday, June 22, 2014


People complain because they must grant themselves the dignity of a purpose. Tragic also that they are usually complicit in having such a thing forced upon them through inaction. It is tiring to watch.

The noblest actions lie somewhere between the course of a conventionist and the harrowing idealism of the iconoclast. There is more to doing things than just obeying a perception of necessity. To want is always better than to need, and putting your desires over your desperation is the nascence of understanding yourself.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I've lived in Wichita for over a year now. If things go right, I'll have released three novellas in under a year and made significant progress on my other projects. It's been a good year for the solitude and the very nice place my wife found us to live.

I think I can sum up what living in Wichita is like by relating a single experience.

My wife and I went in late to a deli and ordered two baked potatoes to go. My wife ordered something off the menu that they were glad to make for her, and I got my usual. As we sat in the carry out area, the manager approached us and said,

"Next time you guys come in, you should go have some of our free ice cream while you wait. In fact, please, help yourselves now."

My wife can't have the cones, so the manager gave her a to-go cup, and we chatted for a moment about the supreme Virtue associated with frozen soft serve. Not every person I interact with in Kansas is like the manager of the deli, but more than a fair number. My uncle did warn me that the people here were genuine and decent. Wichita has it's problems, good guys and bad, but it is an incredibly quiet place, perfect for writers and librarians.

In the early summer/late spring, when one walks in my neighborhood just after sunset, there are fireflies and bunnies. It is a supreme delight for my wife and maybe one for me as well, though I would never admit to such officially. There is also a blessed degree of humidity that makes me sleep and breathe easier awake or asleep.

Also, did I mention it's quiet?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Unsolicited Relationship Advice

I've been with my spouse since 1999, and I marvel at how quickly time passes while I'm with her. I don't think I've discovered even half of what there is to know about being in a successful relationship with another person, but this is some of what I've learned. In no particular order:

1. Want things. Your spouse can't be part of your life and supporting you if you don't want. They can't go on adventures with you if you don't have a destination.

2. Be responsible for your own happiness. That your spouse makes you happy is excellent, but it should be incidental to seeking the things in life that fulfill you.

3. Go with them. If your spouse wants to travel or seek education, go with them. If they want to take a vacation, make sure you've always got the time and money to be there when they go. You can't be a advocate or protector for your spouse if you aren't there.

4. Be your own person. Having your own friends, books, social network accounts, and so forth is important to having an identity. If you don't know who you are, no one else will either. Do not let the burden of merely being fall to your spouse.

5. Have courage. Things will go wrong, break down and get lost. If you chose well, your spouse will be brave for you, and you can be no less for them.

6. Be a good steward of the little things. If you're the last one up, make the bed. Be ready to do your own laundry, dishes, yard work, and similar. Don't take it for granted that anything collectively held by you and your spouse as stewards is yours or theirs to do alone.

7. Be a good steward of the big things. Avoid financial, legal, and social liability that could adversely influence your relationship. You can't be a good spouse if you are constantly broke, in jail, or so notorious that no one trusts you.

8. Protect them. If someone is kind to your spouse, be kind to them. If someone is unkind or harms your spouse, make sure they feel your wrath. Some preventative overtures may be required, but nothing shuts down problems before they start like others knowing you'll die or kill to protect the one you love.

9. Set and respect boundaries. Some would file this under communication, but not every couple needs to exchange manifestos of intent on a daily basis. They do need to relate to one another what they will and will not do, which requires humility and perspective.

10. Care for yourself. A good spouse wouldn't want to stand by and watch someone destroy you, denigrate you, or damage you in any way. Don't be the villain in this, because you'll put your spouse in a place where they have to fight with you to try and save you. Don't make your spouse compete with an addiction, a preventable health issue, or mental illness because you weren't a good steward of yourself.