Sunday, January 05, 2014

Week In Review: December 29 - January 5

With some shameless self-promotion I got over the bar of 1000 Twitter followers just hours before the new year. The friendly competition with Jack Hatch, also shooting for 1000 by New Year's, may have helped. (Same day: Pat Murphy was bragging about 500.)

Hatch lost some competition on Thursday. In the morning Bob Krause dropped out and endorsed him, simultaneously announcing a US Senate bid for 2016. That afternoon Janet Petersen, a fellow Polk County senator who had endorsed Tyler Olson over Hatch, squashed the speculation that she might get into the race.

Time is ticking, and for now it looks like January 2 is the day that the Democratic establishment more or less accepted Hatch as a consensus nominee. The current list of potential primary rivals has narrowed to Jonathan Narcisse, an ex-Des Moines School board member with some unorthodox ideas who ran a third party race in 2010, and Paul Dahl, a semi-employed bus driver who makes vague statements about "skeletons" in Hatch's closet.

Last week also saw movement in the 3rd CD race with Whitver and Cownie out, Zaun and Schultz probably in, and David Young dropping in from the Senate race. Still no activity on the Democratic side.

Here in The People's Republic, Mid-American Energy had to pay Iowa City back $531,000 for overcharges dating back 10 years. We tried to tell ya so back in 2005 with the Public Power campaign. That campaign was the most miserable, knew we were gonna lose death march I've ever worked on... until 21 Bar Round 3 last fall. That half million bucks Mid-American overcharged is pretty close to what they spent on that 2005 NO campaign against us and our puny 20 grand. Maybe they can cut their losses and take it out of Michelle Payne's paycheck?

My head is on football today and a couple non-Packer items: The Cowboys hired 41 year old journeyman Jon Kitna, two years out of the league and last seen teaching high school, as a one-game backup for the regular season finale. They lost, he saw no action, he gave his $53,000 one day paycheck to his school. Meanwhile, 2007 Heisman winner Tim Tebow, last seen on the Patriots' practice squad, was hired as an analyst for ESPN. And the 37 year old guy who took Tebow's starting job in Denver threw 55 TDs this season.

And a friendly note to my readers:

Most people's hobbies are invisible. Mine is visible by design. I write for my own reasons, on my terms, on my own time, with my own motivations, but it's not a private journal to be burned on my death. It's meant to be read. I've done this a long time - by coincidence I see this is my 6000th post in 11 years

For about a year and a half of that, I got paid. I don't anymore. That gain, and more importantly that loss, had an effect on my writing and my attitude. I was good enough, then suddenly I wasn't good enough anymore.

One of the other writers I worked with is just now resuming her writing after a long hiatus. She writes:
When everything came apart, I had no ability to separate myself from the work … and couldn’t chart a clear path back to that same work. It was as if I’d lost an arm or a leg and the only thing I had left within me was to grieve the lost limb. The woman who’d once toured the Midwest speaking on the need for more female voices in the public square was unable to follow her own advice. I lost my voice; lost my way. On top of all the grief, I felt ashamed.

What I’ve come to realize during the past six months or so is that I spent enough time mourning what was lost and it’s time to focus on what remains. I am no longer in a position that allows unfettered focus on what brings me bliss, but I should not deny myself the pleasure still available. It can’t ever be the same, but maybe it can actually be a different kind of better.
Barring that outside motivation of a paycheck, creativity happens when and how it happens. And - this is the point here - I'm not always able to make myself follow through on good intentions or write everything I'd like to write or attend every event I'd like to attend.

Sometimes, especially since I stuck my neck out so far on one in particular, people say I care "too much" about the "wrong" issues. Maybe so. I have more personality quirks than most folks. 

That's not to say your issue is less important. It's just that I have unique things to say about my issues in my relatively narrow niche, while I may have little to contribute to yours. But don't use yours to trivialize mine. If we apply that standard, that by writing you declare "this is THE most important thing," then no one has the right to discuss anything short of World Peace.

When I was a professional there was one story I intended and committed to write, a good idea that I just couldn't make work the way I'd imagined. My editors didn't berate or mock me, but they had that special paycheck motivational power and they pushed and nagged and finally dragged it out. It wasn't as good as the initial idea and I would have rather written something else. 

Readers, I appreciate you and I listen to you. But you aren't my editors. See ya when I see ya.

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