That Makes Sense

I know that yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) blog and shameless self promotion promised to start posting the first 100-200 words of my upcoming short story collection, but like that guy on the dating site who tells you he has 6-pack abs and a full head of hair, I lied.

I am, as we make our way through the week, in the last editing phase of the galley proofs and I want to finish that read through before I post anything. It’s also true that, as anyone who has published and edited, I am pretty sick and tired of my own stories at this point. In many ways, I’ve moved in with these characters for the last year and some of them are pretty annoying.

Either way, we’ll get to those folks soon enough. In the mean time, I’m beginning my new phase of blogging, focusing on quicker entries, links, and insights (one hopes) about the world around us.

1. Earlier this year, the Texas Legislature decided they needed panic buttons installed in their offices. Evidently, some “right to carry” advocates showed up at the state house and our elected officials have decided that passionate people with loaded weapons are scary. To which I say–no shit. Instead of spending millions installing panic buttons, how about we pass a law that disallows carrying loaded weapons into every building in the state. In the meantime, if they get panic buttons, I want one in my office, too. And in Target, the gas station, and my car.

2. In keeping with tradition, Governor Abbott has named Boards of Regents at UT, A&M, and the Texas Tech system. In a twist, he did add some diversity to the Boards. At least one of the new regents only donated $40,000 to his campaign instead of $500,000. I guess he wanted one average Joe in the room while all the experts decided how our flagship universities will be run. Has anyone else noticed that the more politicized the Board of Regents becomes, the higher tuition gets?

3. Speaking of tuition, Senator Schwertner has filed a bill to re-regulate tuition. Evidently, our elected officials have been shocked that universities have raised tuition in equal portion to the cuts and unfunded mandates they keep passing in Austin.

4. Tony Earley’s Mr. Tall: A Novella and Stories is pretty interesting. I didn’t much favor Earley’s Jim the Boy. Earley’s characters were a bit too hackneyed in places for my taste. The stories in Mr. Tall, though, seem to avoid such stereotypes and manage to offer a little poignancy without being melodramatic.

5. The story behind Jose Saramago’s Skylight is almost as interesting as the novel itself. Saramago is a Portuguese writer and winner of the 1998 Nobel. Saramago’s later novels where often experimental attempts to undermine narrative. I always had this sense that he wanted to capture not just the way we tell stories but how we hear them. In many ways, he tried to break down that false barrier writers need to show breaks in dialogue. Much like when we listen to a story but our mind is forming our response or even our later attempts at creating our own narrative of the narrative moment, Saramago’s later work gives us these long passages that contain a very human mixture of insight and ignorance. Skylight, his first novel that sat unpublished in an editor’s desk (wouldn’t you hate to be that guy?) is a simpler narrative. Accessible without being simple. In many ways, it’s a fascinating look at the development of a writer. You can see glimpses of the writer he will become. Either way, a really nice intro to a great writer we will surely miss in the future.

6. After watching Key and Peele’s Obama and Luther Addressing the Critics, I couldn’t watch the State of the Union Address. I’ve read the transcript and the Republican response. Let’s see: unemployment is at 5.6%, we have the most jobs created since 1999, the stock market has tripled, healthcare costs are dropping and more people are covered than ever before, gas prices are below $2.50 because we have drilled her and drilled now, and the Republicans are going to save us from President Obama’s failed economic policies? They should be lucky to fail so well in the next two years. Of course, now that they control the House and Senate their first two bills were Keystone and abortion. That makes sense. Keystone can only work if TransCanada can use imminent domain to steal private land and the Republicans, those good folks who pretend like they want small government, can’t keep their hands off women’s bodies.

Bear with me over the next weeks as I get used to this new blog type. I like the listing above and the short comments, but I’ll admit that I have to work out some kinks.

But, heck, if the rest of the world doesn’t make sense, I’m not sure I feel an overwhelming obligation to do either.

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About John Wegner
John Wegner is a Professor of English where he also serves as the Dean of the Freshman College. He and Lana, his wife, have been married over 25 years. They are the parents of two great sons who (so far) haven't ever needed bail money.

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Things I Read

And Things I Learned

Washington Monthly

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Joanne Jacobs

Thinking and Linking by Joanne Jacobs

Inside Higher Ed

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

FiveThirtyEight

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Balloon Juice

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Scott Adams' Blog

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

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