Woke was preceded by Wide Awake long before Lincoln and the Civil War, as this article below exemplifies. Then as now, bumper sticker slogans could not encapsulate the depth of political positions. But racism and sexism were the undercurrent that fueled the divisiveness that tore our nation apart. Their fear was “buck,” that is male Negroes, who they assumed white women would reject, more so than black women who as subordinate sexual partners–that is unfree, un-legitimized sex objects for white men, were not a threat to the status quo. Their fears came true when white women became as free as men to choose and “mulottoize,” that is diversify the gene pool. Sex brings us all back together in the Garden of Eden.
I like an occasional debate with those I disagree with, but if they only want to beat their own drum and denigrate my reasoned rebuttals and refuse to even consider them it’s not worth my time. Conservative Religions are a case in point. I once rode over the Khyber Pass with an Islamic missionary who tried to convert me as I enjoyed the scenery, which included farmers plowing their fields with automatic rifles on their shoulders, murderous feuds and banditry being endemic there long before the Russians, followed by the Taliban and us. His insistence that I simply accept Mohammad as the one and only “Seal of the Prophets,” after which spiritual revelations come to a dead stop, and I must do so at the cost of abandoning all other worthy spiritual paths. Well, it didn’t sit well and I told him my Buddhist take on direct access spirituality. His anger was tempered by perplexity. How could I, raised a Christian, not accept without question the faith I was born into, until that is, the final installment, or newer testament, in the form of Mohammad, was revealed to me? Didn’t I realize that all other paths, besides the Abraham descended ones, led to the fires of hell? My disagreement was tantamount to blasphemy.
Change the names and places and I encounter the same incurious closed minds among Christians of various persuasions. Jehovah Witnesses being a prime example. Nice folks when I worked with them selling insurance door to door in South Dakota. That job allowed them to sell jewelry on the side, and, you guessed it, espouse their faith with free Watchtower literature and gentle prodding to accept their only one way truth and be saved from the eternal fires of the very hell Muslims feared. Fear and thus hatred of the satanic other is the common thread of all these dogmatic beliefs.
Long before and after, I’ve been accosted, nay, harried by Bible thumping missionaries trying to save my freethinking ‘soul’ by any means necessary. Well-meaning Christian friends have led me into ambushes disguised as friendly dinners and social gatherings similar to the Amway marketing technique. I try to be polite, but I was hungry and the promised food came much later if at all. Fire and brimstone spews at me when I rebut them and I’ve come to rely on sterner strategies to keep them at bay.
Door knockers can be just as obnoxious in their approach. Jehovah Witnesses once interrupted my shower and I grabbed a towel to open the door, expecting friends, maybe even lovers. The well dressed couple seemed embarrassed giving their salvation spiel to a dripping wet half naked man, but unrepentant Hippie that I am, I’ve no prurient shame in my natural flesh and found their discomfiture funny and the blushing woman attractive. At least I could get a chuckle if I have to endure hearing the same old tune. The nervous man finally asked me if there was a better time to come back, which I didn’t want to encourage, so dropping the towel about my loins, I cut it short, uncovering my immodesty at the threshold. Opps! They beat a hasty retreat, never to return. I’d found the best way to get rid of unwelcome interruptions.
Now, if they’d wanted to stay and join me in the shower? After all, saving precious water in a drought makes us good stewards of our Planet. Well, that could have made for a different, more pleasurable ending, perhaps I’d even convert them to my Satanic lifestyle.
Which reminds me of my encounter with the Christian LOVE family. Ah, yes, God’s whores, they called themselves. If only I’d known. But, busy now, that must wait for a later telling.
What’s that? You don’t want to come in? Too scary? You prefer the fantasy of Puffy the magic cyclops to the flesh-eating monster he really was? Sorry to hear that because I’d rather not stoop to such drivel. So spake the old man in me, the mane of mine father.
My publisher got this reply from a Review group: “our membership did not download any copies of Chicago Rage. This is not because the work does not have merit, but because most of our membership comes from the community of fiction readers, more directly, Science Fiction and Fantasy.”
And so, my writing career ends with a whimper. Hell, no! These readers must not be my audience.
My preferred audience may not even have internet access, or they still dwell in the remote pine barrens I once called home. It’s not like I’m the only one howling in the wilderness. The wolves howl back. No, they don’t log in first, they just howl the old-fashioned way, with their throats. God, I miss ‘em. But I’m here now, among the super sensitive, over civilized beings who’ve taken over planet—spaceship—Earth.
Okay, let’s lighten up. There are other ways to get reviewed. I have to shake those trees until an apple hits me on my head. Although brain damaged, I’ll carry on!
Chicago Rage Tumbleweed Books https://daowenpublications.ca/our-authors/
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not really a Luddite, well, not completely. I enjoy some of the gadgets and perks of the modern world. Just that it’s gone too far. Kids don’t roam free as we did in my day. The paths we carved into the forests are overgrown, the secret haunts we explored are hidden, awaiting another generation that can breathe the air scented with pine and wildflowers and shout with exhilaration at the sheer joy of being alive in a natural world. I never developed Hay fever or the long list of allergies that afflict most people I know who seem to have been cursed with an overactive immune system, that tries to kill, rather than protect them. Such a fate seems counter evolutionary to me, as if by shielding ourselves from Mother Nature, she has turned on us, denied us the comfort she gave our ancestors.
A virtual world is a poor substitute for a natural lover’s embrace.
I knew I was privileged in my semi-rural suburb, terrified that my parents would move us back to “the city” where sidewalks intervened between my feet & the earth. And yet the city chased us. My friends and I watched bulldozers tear down big chunks of our beloved woodlands to plant cul-de-sacs filled with strangers who never became familiar neighbors. Long before Eco-terrorism was heard of, we attempted sabotage, putting sand in the dozer gas tanks, but our efforts were futile. Only a few disconnected patches of the natural world remain of what we knew. I grew up an alien, a rebel, opposed to the course civilization was taking and determined to do something about it. And I was not alone. Many of my generation felt the same way, Hippies and Yippies, Freaks or whatever label was foisted on us, we recognized each other by our idealism and our discontent.
How about you?
Do you enjoy reading about life before cell phones & microwaves? Would you like to experience actual life, rather than the fake reality that fills our day on-line? Free love & social activism exploded into the wild sixties out of the staid fifties. Free Speech & Love, shared community, social norms and the rigors of fashion, short hair on men fell by the wayside. Get a taste of what you may be missing. Read on about a lost and found world that was the rebellious Sixties. No, it was not all Peace and Love. Dig it!
Chicago Rage is one slice of my perspective for you. Read it and see if it resonates with your spirit.
Chicago Rage! My new Wild in the Streets Memoir is out on Amazon US.
Free Love, Drugs, Riots, and it’s all true!
A time in US history. A time of turmoil. And a time of unrest. A five-part memoir as seen through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Ron continuing his exploration of the emerging Counterculture after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
From the underground culture of Chicago to the streets of New York, this recollection of the riots and romance tells of the trials we all face. And then Karen entered his life – a young run-a-way with wild thoughts of tearing down Pig City.
Tumbleweed Books https://daowenpublications.ca/chicago-rage/
My fixed Tumbleweed website. https://daowenpublications.ca/our-authors/
Next is a sequel: From Jail to the Booby Hatch: How I rejoined the Revolution, or some such title.
Free Love, Drugs, and Riots
Catch it here: on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B2RWVH8X
It was a time in US history. A time of turmoil. And a time of unrest. A five-part memoir as seen through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Ron
In October I signed a contract with Tumbleweed Books, a Canadian publisher, for my next book of the adventurous Sixties. The working title at this moment is Chicago Rage a wild in the streets and on the road story of rebellious love. Tune in, turn on, drop out! The publisher says it will be released in January or February of this year, 2022. Huzzah!
In answer to D who wrote me this Re: traditional publishing.
When I went to the AWP conference in Portland a few years ago, it dawned on me that traditional publishing combined with the MFA degrees is one big racket. I heard an agent say that she could tell which specific MFA program a writer had come from. And the agents say that acceptance depends on what they individually like, not on quality or anything else. I was a prof (in Intercultural Communication) and can see how this works — faculty want to start an MFA program and maybe the English dept. has a prof who’s published something somewhere. One way to attract students is to have a journal and get them to work on it for free and publish their stuff to give them a track record. And if a college has a published author on staff, the author likely has connections in a traditional publishing company. Maybe the MFA grads get hired at that company, or at another company with someone who graduated from the same program. And won’t they all prefer someone who writes like they do? They’ve got co-students who’ve been trained with the same aesthetic and can all review each other’s work. On Twitter it seems the younger tweeter aspiring authors need to reach 1k followers. When looking for an agent, I noticed they ask you to describe your social media platform or plan therefor. I haven’t researched this, but it makes sense to me.
Like D, I’m an oldster in a world demanding fresh trivia. Welcome to the book market. Actually, it’s very unwelcoming and I’ve found what she says to be true. Just to get an agent to look at your work you need more than a good query. You must break into their buddy system or it ends in a slush pile. It took me decades before I had time & focus to start writing. Then comes the fear factor, the terror of exposing your truth to an often hostile audience. The naysayers tend to be the loudest voices & can poison the atmosphere in an otherwise appreciative group.
Fear doesn’t go away, but one must build the drive to forge on over it. I call it the ‘fuck ’em’ attitude. Constructive criticism is one thing, but if someone keeps repeating ‘it’s stupid’ or ‘don’t you know anything about the Hero journey’ without where & how that relates to your piece it can shatter your ambition and make you want to crawl into a hole & never come out.
In my case, I’m wedded to the unvarnished truth, life as lived history, & they want me to invent some murder mystery, or throw in a vampire to juice it up.
My answer? Fuck ’em! The slammers usually draw from less life experience. Stay strong, harried writer, we’ve gotta come out & say what we must for whoever gets it. All that without becoming bitter, or letting it crush you, takes supreme effort. So, any & all positive feedback is welcome. Celebrate the small victories, whether the book sells or not is up to the capricious gods of fortune.