Sky King did nothing wrong

He followed the script.

He played by the rules.

He married young, but not too young.  He met his wife when they both were in college.  They moved to be close to family.  He took a job that provided him with free travel to see his own family regularly and stay in touch with more than social media posts.  He was upbeat, patient and pleasant to his co-workers.  He worked hard and did his job unstintingly.

And none of it worked out.  He was making barely more than daycare workers in Washington State make.  His wife was working at a bakery, making around the same.  Combined they were making around the median household income for their state, which is about half what married couples make who have kids in Washington.

But he met her at college.  They married young, but not too young.  They lived near family.

And he was almost 30 and fatherhood was looking like a dream.  He hoped further, additional credentials would finally get him a pay raise, into management.

But hope curdles in the face of grinding reality, where following all the rules pushes you deeper and deeper under and all the smiles and positive attitude aren’t moving you forward, but locking you in place.

His name was Richard Russell.  His friends called him Beebo.  What a privilege they had.

He took a plane up into the light, because for all his efforts to follow the rules, the light was slipping further and further away and all his smiles and good spirits couldn’t push away the dark shadows of despair and futility.

But in that plane, for a little while, he touched the light.  He reached down into this bleak world of corruption and the grinding down of good, young, decent men and he gave a taste of it to the rest of us here on the cold gray ground.

We who only knew him in death call him Sky King.  Sky King did nothing wrong.

 

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Goal setting, publishing edition

Life is full of moving parts these days and little/no opportunities to write much fiction or get it publish-ready,  but this is being posted to set expectations for the year after this calendar one ends.

The plan for what’s left of the year is to submit one short story to conventional magazines, publish a novelette (40-60 pages) by December and the “reach goal” is to also publish a short story collection of 3 or 4 stories in their own shared world by December.  I have received good contact information for cover artists, proofreading/editing and formatting for ebook and print.

Contingent on getting scheduled, the publishing has a good chance of happening by December.

I’ll post further progress in October, unless I get the joy of being able to update sooner.

 

July Reading Update

I finished one book this month.  It was Burton’s Arabian Nights translation, which I’d started on a long while back.  I decided to just focus on finishing it.  It had its ups and downs after a pretty spicy start.  The ending was a little unexpected.  Someday I’ll try another translation of the complete text, but not anytime soon.  I spent the time not reading other books figuring out what I was hoping to knock out for the next three years.  It’s maybe 300 books, but I didn’t do an exact count.

The current count is 51 down, 49 to go.

What is the birth dearth worth?

The latest provisional birth data is out and the results are an ongoing decline in total births at all but the oldest ages (mostly 40+, which is barely any of the total babies).

I have no idea when I can get around to it in more detail but Gen X (my “generation”) beat the spread and had more babies than their initial TFR predicted, which is pretty interesting.  Also cohort analysis shows some specific cohorts within Gen X and older-Millennial are having more higher-order births (3, 4, 5th, etc) than  their fellow cohort-sisters.

So on the one hand a few small groups that someone eventually should look at more closely are having more children than expected.  On the other hand, the big-picture of fertility is ongoing declines in baby-having at every stage of fertile-life.

So what is this ongoing decline in new life worth?  What is it worth to the ever-shrinking  pool of married parents?  And what’s making a handful of people double down and have marginal additional children at all?

 

Stormy Monday (a blast from the recent past)

This was a draft I started a while back and you can see why it never got finished, lol.   The washing machine is ok, though! And the kitchen is shard-free! We stopped buying jam (and pb) entirely and switched to deli meat.

Original below.

Not only is there an actual (but mild) storm meaning our planned outdoor time was reduced to about 15 minutes, but this has been my day so far:

  • One child dropped a glass jar of jam on the floor
  • At the same time I found out one of the laundry loads was covered in yellow paper which turned out to be cardboard from a lightbulb package (lightbulb did not make it into the machine though).
  • So I went back and forth shaking out every single piece of clothing and then cleaning up the whole thing between closing the kitchen door and getting up the shards and jam.