The Deeper State
Tell Me a True Story
by Jennifer Paros
Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.
~ Theodore Roethke
Recently in the news, the phrase Deep State has gotten traction. It refers to a shadow structure in the government operating on its own, outside of the law. The Deep State implies an unseen criminal network attempting to undermine us. My problem with a Deep State – whether or not it exists – is that as a construct alone it creates fear. Right now in American society we have strong competing narratives of opposing realities and both, according to the other, include conspiracy. When we enter the realm of conspiracy, though we may think we’re now alert to the dangerous unseen, we actually obstruct our own clarity. We lose sight of what is happening presently and what is known deeper within us – truths bonded to the reality of our inextricable connection to each other and to the good in life.
In 1969, Fred Rogers defended PBS to the US Senate when President Nixon wanted to cut its 20 million dollar budget in half. In footage of his presentation, he speaks of how much he cared about children and in doing so shed light on the greater good at stake. He presented a more authentic story than that of any politics or policy. In his open and genuine way, Fred Rogers offered a true story about meaning and love. His argument was compelling because his awareness of something deeper transformed the conversation. In his defense of what was true in the deepest sense, the unreal fell aside and his argument was welcomed. more...
by Cherie Tucker
To all of you who insist in putting in that comma before the and in a series and who have been told it isn’t necessary, United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has declared that it is. Just this month their decision stated that because of a missing comma, instructions for delivery drivers were unclear, and the court ruled against a dairy company in Maine, awarding the drivers “an estimated $10 million.”
The sentence in the state law regarding what overtime rules do not apply to, reads:
The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.
Because delivery drivers distribute but do not pack the boxes, they sued that they had been denied overtime pay for more than four years. Daniel Victor wrote in his article published in The Seattle Times about the case:
Does the law intend to exempt the distribution of the three categories that follow, or does it mean to exempt packing for the shipping or distribution of them?
Delivery drivers distribute perishable foods, but they don’t pack the boxes themselves. Whether the drivers were subject to a law that had denied them thousands of dollars a year depended entirely on how the sentence was read. more...
The Writing Process and How It Evolves:
Being Open to Change
by Tyffani Clark
The writing process, like the stories we love to read, is constantly evolving. What worked for us when we were younger and carefree isn’t always going to work. As we get older, our minds change and grow, and we need to learn new ways of organizing, compartmentalizing, and eliminating distractions, so we can focus. Day-to-day tasks start to take up our time, so we have to find new opportunities and new places to write. The key to keeping it all going is to evolve and be open to change.
I used to be a straight pantser. That is, I sat down to write and as long as I had an idea in my head about where I wanted the story to go – beginning, middle, and end – I had a winner. I wanted to be as surprised by the story I was writing as my readers would be when they read it, and I still do. But I’ve found recently that if I plot out my main points, I have a more fleshed out story with less need for rewriting, and I still get the same surprise when the in-between points fall into place.
I had a system that worked for many years: sit down, pull up the document, write until you can’t focus anymore. Lather, rinse, repeat. But in recent years, that has become harder and harder, partially because it has become harder and harder to find the time for that kind of commitment. I hadn’t yet figured out that I needed a new system. My old approach of writing without a plan wasn’t giving me time to get to know my characters or the worlds I was creating.
Last year I sat down to write The Canyon Edict. It followed five different timelines in a non-linear format. It was my biggest challenge to date and I knew I would have to start with a full outline if I wanted anything to come of it. I had to plot each timeline separately, and then weave them back together so they didn’t get confusing. I couldn’t blow my way through this one. I had to take it slow and know what I was going to do before I did it. It came together more easily than anything I’ve ever written and is the piece of which I’m the most proud. more...