the Novelist’s Dilemma

November approaches.

It’s no surprise, dear reader, that I’m a busy man: not only am I plowing through my first year of teaching (and all the lesson-planning, classroom-managing, relationship-building chaos that comes with that) I’m also attempting to balance being a grad student and still having something of a personal life (filled with a new relationship and lots of Pokemon).

It’s more than I can say in one breath, that’s for sure.

So comes NaNoWriMo. That one month a year I’ve pledged to the author inside to make writing my number one priority. Except lately I can’t even write for my blog.

What am I to do?

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Don’t Feed the Trolls

There’s a heinous demonstration on campus today that asserts abortion is genocide and compares it to events like the Holocaust and the expulsion of Native Americans from their homelands. All of this, of course, is coupled with graphic images that are neither scientifically accurate nor representative of abortion.

So naturally, there are a number of students protesting the demonstration. No matter the motivation of the protestors, they accept the right of this other organization to free speech, but object to the way it delivers its message–a manner that’s so reprehensible I refuse to even mention their name.

This same group was on campus last year, and I protested against them. This year I’m unable to protest, but at least I can lend my support in other ways.

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An Open Letter to Thom Tillis

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Dear Senator Tillis,

I did not vote for you, but since you are now my senator, you are obliged not only to listen to me but to represent me. It would be easy to dismiss me because you won this race without my vote, so I would like to take a moment to remind you that you did not gain election through a majority, but merely a plurality. Indeed, because of this, please realize–and consider this deeply–that you now represent more than half of North Carolina who did not vote for you. Therefore, I would like to share with you where I stand on many of the issues I believe will be important during the next six years in which you are in office.

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My Vote Didn’t Count

So elections were yesterday and despite distractions galore, I still managed to reach my daily word count goal for NaNoWriMo. Through antihistamines and philosophers, economic speakers and communication workshops, I thought the day would end on a solemn note. And when I saw some of the election results, certainly it seemed solidly solemn enough, but somehow there is clarity in these wins and losses–clarity that my vote didn’t count.

But don’t mistake me for apathy. There’s more to it than that.

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The Issues at Hand

Last Thursday, when early voting began in North Carolina, I encouraged everyone to research the issues, to know the candidates, and to go vote. Ironically, I had yet to do any of these things–however, as I returned home this weekend, it was my intent to do all of them. And I am quite pleased to announce that I have, indeed, now done all of them.

But I don’t want to stop there.

Instead, I want to share with you what I believe–where I stand on the issues at hand and the candidates I have placed my faith in to propel us forward. My intent is not to persuade, although certainly I believe I have endorsed those who will lead us to the best state we can be in–nationally and locally–and for that reason persuasion is not a bad thing, but it is not my intent. What I plan to share is my ballot–who I voted for and more importantly why I gave them my endorsements.

Before I continue, I want to be clear about where I’ve gained my facts and the resources that led me to making my decisions: First, I relied on NCVoterGuide.org to provide me with my personal ballot information (available in sample ballot form at NSCBE.gov) and summaries of the candidates. Second, I relied on the candidates’ websites to further aid in making my decisions. If you do not live in North Carolina, at least take the time to read a little bit further about the national candidates I’ve voted for (namely, the president) and then, unless you truly wish to hear my views, I encourage you to stop reading and take the time you would have spent here researching the issues and getting to know the candidates you’ll be voting for. And then, of course, I want you to vote.

Otherwise, what’s the point in writing any of this?

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Where Are We Going, Where Have We Been

Today began early voting in North Carolina. I’ll be voting on Monday, but that’s besides the point: What matter today is that you can now take your voice and make it heard–locally and nationally.

I’ve been debating a long time with myself if I want to “go political” or not. It’s a part of me, and I can’t deny that, and it’s certainly been a part of this blog–none of us can deny that. However, I’ve worried about alienating readers, offending people or making erroneous claims that will hurt me in the end.

I’ve decided today that all of that? It’s stupid. It’s our obligation–yours as much as mine–to “go political,” and given the start of early voting, there’s no better time than now to do it.

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The God Tax

During the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games last night I saw a commercial featuring our President responding to claims from challenger Mitt Romney that he’s against private business. The claim comes from a quote not too long ago in which President Obama stated, “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. If you’ve got a business–you didn’t build that.”

It’s scandalous, isn’t it? Ant what’s it got to do with the Talmud?

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