What is Next?
(Blog Number 200 of 200)
I told Sheryl last week I was a little tired of writing my blog and was looking forward to a break. That is true. It is not that I am tired of writing it as much as I am fresh out of ideas for my next one. I recall when I started I had maybe 10 good ideas for a blog and when I got stated I pretty quickly ran my ideas up to about 30. I thought hey this will go quickly and be easy. At blog 30 I had dismissed perhaps 15 of those 30 and I was gasping for ideas. Still a commitment to m self was a commitment and I figured well somehow I will get over this bump. I did, and by and by, the ideas came and I started to end each week with maybe 2-4 in my pocket for the following week. By mid-December of 2013 I was fresh out so I took a break and yes a commitment, even if that commitment is only to myself, is still a commitment. So while I have been running on air these past few months I am happy to say I made it. I kept my commitment.
As I approached 200, I had another issue what to do next? I remember that if I have had any improvement in my writing at all then I cannot simply stop now and expect to keep it. Let’s face it old habits are difficult to break.
In anticipation of coming to this point I agreed to help write (with 2 others) an academic oriented paper about conditions in Haiti. The specific issue the three of us seem to be going toward, is an examination of how Non-Governmental Operatives (NGO’s) supplant the authority of the Haitian government to the point where that government cannot function, thus making a bad situation even worse. I am specifically examining the lack of property rights as a major contributor to Haitian governmental ineffectiveness. My idea is that since courts do not or barely operate in Haiti, there are no property rights, and since there are no property rights borrowing or lending cannot take place, and because of that banks don’t know the value of the property, and since no secure lending can take place, poor people cannot expect to improve their economic outlook. By most reports, the way to insure property rights in Haiti is raise your own security force and those with the largest number of guns wins. I can have my property in essence until someone bigger wants it.
Without functioning courts, disputes are handled by who has weapons and the number of weapons is determined by the amount of money a person has or can assemble. NGO’s themselves often disregard courts when deciding where to set up operations and they themselves are forced to have security while doing operations inside the country. Government works more by who buys who off and how reliable the payments are. Thus the courts may be full of and run by systems of graft instead of by the rule of law.
I am working with two others who have extensive contacts in Haiti and our senior researcher who invited me to join the project has worked in Haiti for several years. I do not see this as my life work, rather as a chance to write cooperatively in order to be published, which is another long held goal of mine. I would say the chances of success for this project are no more than 50-50 at this point, but if successful I will have a publishing credit, which is something I have long wanted.
I have also, from time to time, flirted with the idea of writing a book about the very human tendency to get angry in disagreements. My particular interest is in how people in houses of worship tend to get angry about something and then argue or walk away instead of taking constructive steps to end disagreements. I am hoping to write a book that Pastor’s, Rabbi’s, Iman’s and non-ordained clergy and councils can use to help resolve disputes which occur in all human organizations. The difference in places of worship being that these particular institutions are voluntarily joined and membership is always voluntary. I am hoping to use some of the more practical lessons that I learned as a politician during the 17+ years I practiced that profession. My theory is that in our houses of worship we experience disagreements and many of those disagreements are resolved by one party or another walking away. Politics is of course the practice of assembling voluntary coalitions to overcome disagreements by both persuasion and force. In houses of worship we also resolve difference but in my experience it is not done very well. Little things blow up to be big things and eventually half of the congregants decide to remove the pastor while the other half are angry and either leave or maybe worse yet hang around waiting for the next disagreement so they can be successful.
Long serving Pastors, Priests, Rabbi or Imans etc. often leave the profession not because they want too but because the disagreements of those they serve is so brutal they do not want or cannot to practice the profession any longer. It would seem there are better ways to resolve disputes and disagreements than an uprising of the congregants. I believe the mixture of well-known and accepted values of forgiveness and prayer and a healthy dose of how too politics might offers some ways forward for those serving in ministry and also offer congregants a way to resolve disputes. I wrote a paper about this a few years ago and seeking better ways to resolve almost violent disagreements has always been an interest of mine. I do think there is a book in these ideas somewhere, but I am looking for a collaborator or two to help with the more technical spiritual elements. For instance I understand the principles of political consensus building but I am hoping to find someone who can help reference those in sacred texts (the Bible, Talmud and Quran). I believe these three texts when correctly applied can give Christians, Jews and Muslim the guide for resolving most disputes and that a good dose of modern politics can help trouble form starting in the first place.
If I can find the correct collaborator I believe the project can be very interesting and have some broad acceptance. But obviously I need a good collaborator, since what I know about the Talmud and Quran can fit on a pin head.
I also have an idea for a children’s book series about a duck family. I would like for the main character, (Chick Duck) to be a diabetic and learn many things on her journey. Like how to eat, what a low blood sugar is and what to do about it, how humans have to help he take insulin, and a few other non-diabetic adventures. Children’s books depend in large part on the illustrator so it would be important to find an illustrator and of course publication of a children’s book series are often difficult so at this point it is a very speculative venture. Still I do believe there is a market and I believe that children with diabetes are underserved and that parents and grandparents would purchase books such as these with a positive message about living with diabetes.
Finally of course I want to remain a contributor with TUDiabetes. It is true I was tired of writing my blog, but that will wear off in a few weeks and I will once again want to write a blog. I know that to be true, because over many months the blog became as cathartic for me to write as it was difficult. This past December we had the children in for Christmas Holiday and when they left I was overwhelming sad. I got over that by writing a blog that I did not publish, but it gave me a way to express, how sad I was and how much I loved my two sons, their wives and the three grandchildren. It was the first year I had an outlet for that emotion that I face every time they leave my house or I travel away from them. I was exhausted but my release was to blog so I could express my feelings. I know I will find that to be true over the coming months as things come up, I frustrations, setback, or I think of a funny idea. Since I know that, I am making a new goal (again just to myself) that I will write 100 blogs in the coming year.
Oh and yes, I still say it is to improve my writing. Let’s face it; writing is a skill to be practiced, if I do not practice it going forward, any small improvements I have made over these past 12 months will be lost. So it is best I stay on the horse and keep riding. Maybe just not 4 days a week, so I have time for a couple of activities that interest me. Besides, I bet if I think about it a little, I still have at least 100 stories to tell.