I’ve seen some blogs that change their look every month. Frankly, it’s too much bother, but once in a while…
So, here’s a new look. I’ve noted a few comments about the difficulty of reading white-on-black (or pale blue-on-dark blue, etc), so I found one that reverses that and reads pretty well. I’ve also found one that allows me to put my own images in the header, and that I may change more regularly, but for the foreseeable future, this is what the Muse is going to look like.
I suppose I should make a few other comments to go along with that.
I promised a post on the content of the Moyers-Haidt video and that’s still coming. I’ve been working steadily on finishing a novel and I’m within striking distance of the complete first draft. Oculus is the sequel to Orleans, which is currently in the hands of my estimably cool agent, Jen Udden. Once I finish this, I will hand it to my wonderful partner and first-reader, Donna, who will take a red pen and scrawl viciously all over it so that I may take the shredded remains and build from them a better book. While she’s doing that, I will be doing a number of things, among which include cleaning my office (which is a shattered and broken No Man’s Land, unfit for human habitation), doing some more work for Left Bank Books (link on the sidebar, go visit), working on more writing (surprise!) and penning more annoying commentary to post here on matters political, philosophical, personal…
Speaking of which, I recently endured one of the pitfalls of having strong opinions and the ability to voice them that, when it involves relative strangers, usually scrapes no skin off any body parts. I hope I’m wrong, but I seem to have lost a friend as a consequence of one such post. Politically, we were quite far apart, but managed what I thought was a fairly solid relationship—based on music, good food, good wine, things like that. After a few political conversations, we had, I thought, opted for detente and simply didn’t discuss it. But when you have a public face, that becomes a bit difficult to manage. What do you say to people? Don’t read this if you know we disagree fundamentally?
My attitude is caveat emptor. You come into my online home, feel free to froth and fret or even agree wholeheartedly. Feel free to take umbrage, throw money, tell me I’m wonderful or the scum of the earth. It is a public forum. I won’t back down from my principles or beliefs. If such offend to the extent that you feel compelled to collect your marbles and never visit again, so be it.
I will say this, regarding the broader arena of public discourse: I can become furious over a stated position and manage to regard someone as a friend. I’m willing to talk about anything, with just about anyone, as long as the dialogue is honest and honestly engaged. I may go away wondering how such opinions over this or that can possibly be held by a thinking human being, but I promptly caution myself that I am no judge of absolute right or wrong and no doubt some react the way to me. But I will ask that my writings be read completely and taken for what they say and judged according to their content. Factual mis-statements, hyperbolic distortions, and hissy fits do nothing to further anything and I will call anyone on them.
As I would expect them to call me on the same.
So. If you know in advance that your sensibilities may get rubbed raw by what you may find here, and you come anyway, react as you will, but know it’s on you. There are plenty other places on the intraweebs to go visit, many of which may offer solace rather than sandpaper.
That said, all are welcome. I have a FaceBook page with over four thousand “friends,” many of whom I doubtless disagree with on some topic. I do not unfriend anyone who disagrees with me. That’s childish. I believe we should engage other viewpoints. The polemical in-group isolation that has arisen from the self-selection of media has caused enormous damage to our public discourse. It has become far too easy to avoid opinions and beliefs and even facts that make us uncomfortable or that we wish were not true. I try not to do that. It is limiting and potentially destructive. What we are doing thereby is creating entirely separate languages. Words that mean one thing to one group mean something entirely different to another and because they no longer converse with each other on any regular basis, such meanings concretize and become barriers.
Anyway, I hope you all like the new look. The mission, however, remains the same.