Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Hot, rainy, humid
Katrina’s devastation is heartbreaking. I hurt for everyone who lost their homes and their lives.
I do have an intolerant policy for looters – shoot them. It is inexcusable for people to prey on the devastation like this, and they should be eliminated. It is not “society” that creates looters. It is a personal choice that further devastates those nearly crushed by disaster, and that personal choice should have fatal consequences.
Now, those of us who were spared Katrina’s wrath can do several things to help those hit. Relief organizations are springing up all over the country. Check them out very carefully. Unfortunately, just like post-tsunami, dozens of scam agencies will set up.
A safe bet is the Red Cross. As someone who has both volunteered with them and been helped by them, I know how much integrity they have, and how their people genuinely help.
Money will be the big thing that people can donate. Even $5 or $10 here and there can make a big difference.
Eventually, goods will also be needed, although until long-term shelters or other accommodations for those left homeless are set up, it won’t be possible to send the materials down. Ask the organizations when they think they’ll be able to accept material goods, and start putting things aside now. Purchase an extra canned good or two at the store, and put it aside in a “Katrina Box”. Go through your closet and weed out clothing you can give away. Go through your kitchen –are there any utensils you no longer use? Remember, these people lost EVERYTHING. They are starting from zero.
The next most important thing you can do is take the 15 to 20 minutes it takes to shoot off an e-mail to all of your representatives in both houses of Congress. The oil companies make billions of dollars in profit every year. Ever-lovin’ Bush, who protects his rich friends while decimating the nation, signed a bill giving them enormous tax breaks and incentives, although they stated they would not pass any of it to the consumer.
Now it’s time for Congress to step in and do the following:
1. Require every oil company to donate a set amount of oil to the areas of devastation. And that means DONATE.
2. Freeze gasoline prices at a top cap of $3.00 per gallon for AT LEAST THREE YEARS. Any attempt to raise gasoline or heating oil prices above that will count as price gouging and be penalized with six figure fines.
3. Any attempt to retrieve these fines out of the hides of the consumers will result in additional six figure fines.
4. No lay-offs can be made by the oil company in any labor capacity. Only executive salaries can be cut and executive positions eliminated, starting from the top of the company and working down. The average director's salary at a large corporation in 2004 was 18%. While thousands of actual workers are laid off. This is NOT acceptable.
5. If the oil companies scream it interferes with their right to do business, pull up the Supreme Court ruling on Eminent Domain – the government has the right to step in for the good of the community. Although this is not real estate, oil is just as or more precious, and, it can be argued, falls in the same jurisdiction.
Until the population of this country demands change, rather than rolling over and letting big business give us all financial enemas, nothing will change.
Okay, back to writing:
Ending Tapestry was very difficult, especially since I planned to continue it for nine more months. But I was at a point in the piece where it made sense to stop. I can just picture chugging along merrily and having the rug pulled out from under me in the middle of an arc.
I requested the story stay up on the site for six more months so that subscribers early in the process have the chance to receive the entire serial. My commitment is to both the story and to my loyal readers.
I have two remaining short story arcs outlined, which can be stand-alone short stories. The Finding Jake novel-length arc will become its own novel, and the second in the Nina Bell series. I have notes on several other volumes as well. Once rights revert back to me, Nina Bell will continue to have a life.
I requested to extend both Widow’s Chamber and Angel Hunt for another six months. I know where I’m going with Widow’s Chamber, and that will complete within that time frame; I need to take a closer look at Angel Hunt.
Originally, I conceived Widow’s Chamber to run for five years. Since the initial vision of the company was to run “stories without end”, that’s how I approached it. The novel-length arcs give the reader a sense of completion and, also an option if they get sick of it, to opt out at the end of an arc and not have to subscribe eternally. I knew I had enough material for the other stories to run for a good long time, too – in novel-length arcs, sometimes interspersed with short-story length arcs.
However, with the way things have changed over the past months, and the elevation in frustration level, I want to bring the stories to natural conclusions without hurting story, reader, company, or myself.
I have tried to talk about contract renewals three times in the past week and change, and been blown off (three of my contracts are up on Friday). A general email went around about contract renewals, but we’ll see what happens. I am an employee – if what I request is refused, then, well, I’m done. It’s not my company, and the person who owns the company has every right – and in fact, must do what that person believes is in the best interest of the company. And I will make decisions moving forward from there. I have tried to come up with a solution that causes that least amount of grief all the way around, but we’ll see what the response is.
It was terribly, terribly difficult to pull the Tapestry disks out of the “Current Project” file I keep on my desk and put in the “completed project” file.
Nina just shrugs – she’ll take a vacation for a bit. She knows she’ll be back.
But it’s an emotional wrench.
I have an extra day’s extension on the two articles due on the 1st. I ought to be able to finish them tomorrow, but, one never knows.
My mother heads back to the doctor today, and I head back into the city.
I have a feeling I have to cancel next week’s trip to Maine.
Good news: I love my friend’s manuscript.
The Thirteen Traveling Journals Project
The Place and Space Journal Project
To read an excerpt or order, click the title and download.
The Widow’s Chamber
For a free issue of any of the above serials, click the title and download.