Write with a purpose. Get out the vote.

Some of us are better writers than we are speakers. That includes me.

I meant well when I signed up to help with a Sierra Club Get Out the Vote effort by making phone calls. Before the 30-minute training was over, I realized my time would be better spent writing GOTV letters.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m way better at it.

This is one of those times when writers and other artists do well to examine how they can make the best use of their skills.

Write with a purpose. Get out the vote.

If you can talk and write, know that there’s an urgent need to call people to encourage them to vote and tell them why you think it’s important. Not so good on the phone? Sign up to write letters or texts.

The reasons to vote are many and my guess is you’re aware of them. One that should be especially important to writers right now is the First Amendment.

Whether you write or edit news, nonfiction, sci-fi, fantasy or some other genre – or if you express yourself through photography, visual arts, performing arts – your right to do that is under attack to an extreme we have not seen in the United States in a long time.

Exercise your rights. Write with a purpose. GOTV.

B.J.

Violent crime is higher in some places? No shit, Vince.

By the time the Denver Post landed on my driveway* this morning, Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca’s plan to replace policing with peacekeeping in Denver had already been thoroughly rejected by the city council.

That surprised no one. Still, columnist Vincent Carroll belittled the plan as “half-baked” and used nearly 800 words to explain some but not all of the disparities in arrest rates between the Black and White communities.

Pixabay image

He graciously gave us all permission to “dismiss the arrest statistics as additional evidence of racial bias,” so feel free to have at it. Here’s the column.

Carroll also felt compelled to tell us, while explaining some but not all of the aforementioned disparities, “The violent crime rate really is higher in some communities.”

No shit, Vince. It is what it is, you might as well have written.

That is not a reason to reject out of hand the very idea of rethinking and even replacing failed, seriously flawed police forces. Stop apologizing and excusing and start to think a little harder about the root causes of these life-and-death issues and how to deal with them.

Feel free to start with this concept:

When the pot of water starts to boil over, you don’t turn up the heat. You turn it down.


*We canceled our home delivery subscription a couple of months ago and went digital-only. The newspaper mysteriously began showing up here again a week or so ago, quickly followed by two unauthorized withdrawals from our checking account totaling just shy of $100. Repeated calls and complaints have yet to resolve the issue or get us a refund.

Driving west

From the South Rim, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

Hope is packing up
our privilege and masks
and bicycles and hiking boots
and driving west
to explore the future.

It is trekking higher in thin air,
trusting our hearts and lungs,
daring to imagine a bright new chapter
that begins around the next bend
in the dusty trail.


Read more Raw verse.

Another made day for a writer

Last month I posted something about how some news from an online journal made my day. I said it was about getting a story published and that the story “may or may not have something to do with a kite.”

It has to do with a little boy, some other people, and something about a kite.

Here it is:

The Missing Kite

Read on, my friends.

B.J.

Beware the little cyclists (and big people, too)

Experienced cyclists like Mrs. Smith and yours truly know a good bit about avoiding road hazards. I learned some of that the hard way – once by going too fast around a curve on an asphalt trail that was covered in wet leaves, for example, and once by hitting a rough railroad crossing at a bad angle in the rain.

Some of the scariest moments on a bicycle involve children, the scary part being fear of running into and hurting them. After witnessing a number of hazardous situations the other day on some busy, beautiful trails in Summit County, I thought it might be good to state the obvious that is not obvious to everyone.

  • You are not quick enough to avoid hitting a child who swerves into your path if you are riding as fast as you want to. Slow down. Trust me. A child walking or pedaling on a trail or anywhere else will be in your way at some point. They are learning.
  • Many adults are still learning. Some never will.
  • Don’t assume a cyclist or pedestrian you’re passing hears you say, “Passing on your left.” Not everyone has good hearing, and many others are listening to music or podcasts.
  • Far too many people will not give you a polite “Passing on your left” as they approach you from behind.
  • You cannot trust anyone who is driving a car, truck or other motor vehicle. That includes me. We are human and we all make mistakes, not to mention those who are drunk, texting or otherwise negligent.
  • You cannot trust other cyclists, so be responsible for your own safety. I’ve had a cycling friend yell out that a road was clear to cross only to see him nearly hit by a speeding car a second or two later. Always check for yourself.

Summary: Pay attention.

Pedal on.

B.J.