Friday, December 30, 2011

The price of truth vs tact, blarney, and political correctness

On the surface, complete honesty is expected from our partner/friend/child/parent/teacher/boss/government. But in practice, honesty is often cloaked by something else, a need to soften its delivery so it's less blunt and easier to accept. I stink at that. When I'm responsible for the outcome of a situation or if I'm asked outright, I just say what I think. Complete honesty doesn't always sit well with the recipient, but the other choices are - Silence - That works in many situations. But other times silence is absolutely unacceptable, like with the child-abuse problems at Penn State and elsewhere. I can keep silent about truths that don't need to be said - I have that basic impulse control. Unless I'm asked. Then you get the whole truth. Diversion- Q: Does this make me look fat? A: Look at these earrings. Blarney - "the art of telling someone to go to hell so they look forward to the trip." This requires a silver tongue and a fondness for shamrocks, neither of which I have. Political correctness - "tyranny with a happy face” according to Charlton Heston. I can't play that game. The saccharin-speech and namby-pamby feel of our PC country is the reason I yell at the TV during political campaigns. Outright lie - not acceptable. So what's the point in all this? In my journey toward publication, I had questions about a potential contract and publisher. As the author, I want to be proud of the end product so I went ahead and asked my questions. The publisher was not comfortable with my lack of political correctness, lack of blarney or diversion or silence on the matter and now will not be publishing my book. The lesson? I guess they're not the right publisher for me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Revamped and refocused

For months, I have busied myself with submitting my novel to agents and publishers. So when I realized that I haven't posted on this blog for 6 months - yikes! - I knew it was time for an overhaul. I've redesigned the blog and plan to post opinion pieces about, as the heading says, people, freedoms, media, and what's truly important to me. Here goes:
Out of all the people I've met in my life, the one who influenced me most never spoke a word. She was the ultimate teacher, unashamedly showing her joy in the simple pleasures of a ray of sunshine, a forbidden cookie, or a bedtime ritual. In her, in my sister Joyce, I saw humanity stripped of its trappings, without status or clout and without an agenda for the future. Somehow, this freed her and she was truly able to live in the moment. If only I could accomplish that for a single day, a single hour.
My childhood with Joyce affected me profoundly. Professionally, I became a pediatric physical therapist because of Joyce, but on a personal level, Joyce taught me to see the person first then the disability, a philosophy made popular in recent years by 'people-first' language. She also taught me that she didn't need fixing - she wasn't broken - and against her brightness I saw that I, with my intact body and intelligence, needed some work. I still do.