Point of View

Under normal circumstances, I’m a highly energetic, ferociously physical guy. This affects my writing, both in terms of voice and in terms of what I choose to write about.

These past two days, I’ve been alternating between periods of aching recovery, frustration with how slowly I have to move, and hazy drifts through pain-medicated fog. Overall, this is not the most pleasant experience I’ve had this year.

But…

It helps with point of view. Joe R. Lansdale, a martial artist speaking of writing bad fight scenes, once said “You can tell when a virgin is writing a sex scene.” This feeling of helplessness, of low energy, of weakness, will help me write better characters in my fiction and write more effectively for some audiences of my nonfiction.

A lot of the best authors suffered throughout their lives, giving them the empathy to truly understand each and every one of the challenges and conflicts affecting their characters. I’m not comparing my routine hernia operation to the lives of those giants, but it’s a small piece of the same page.

As writers, we have the advantage that every hardship we suffer now is fuel for your creativity later. Even if it never makes it into a particular story, simply knowing this can help us better handle the situation as it happens.

Thanks for listening.

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More About School Lunches

Readers of some of my earlier posts are by now aware of how alarming I find the school lunch situation in our public schools. I’ve found a couple more videos by experts in the field about what’s wrong and what we can do about it.   Enjoy.

Thanks for listening.

True Self Defense

Folks who know me are aware of my ideas about “true self-defense” – the fact that we worry about homicide and terrorism while eating in a way that guarantees a shorter life span and reduced health. TED award winner Jamie Oliver has delivered a speech that says it far better than I ever have.

This is the subject of my February article in Black Belt, and a matter of personal interest. I hope it gets you to thinking, as well.

Thanks for listening.

RANT: School Nutrition

There’s a new program at my oldest son’s school called Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) that encourages dads to come in and volunteer some time during school hours. Since I have a flexible schedule and I kind of like my kid, I signed up. It’s a good deal. I spend more time with my boy, help out in class, and provide a positive male role model for some kids who have to go without.

Here’s my problem.Part of the program means I get a ticket for free lunch at the cafeteria. Here are some examples of  the entrees available at my son’s school:

  • Palm-sized disks of pepperoni pizza.
  • Chicken nuggets with tater tots
  • Cinnamon roll with chocolate milk (this is breakfast)
  • French bread with tomato sauce, cheese and pepperoni
  • Yogurt with a “granola mix” consisting mostly of Froot Loops, Cheerios and chocolate chips.

You can click here to visit a page where you can access menus in the top left corner. Ironically, it’s titled “Nutrition Services Offers Healthy School Meals.”

There’s an optional salad bar on the way to the entree line, boasting iceberg lettuce, cucumber slices and some bell pepper sticks. Drinks are milk, chocolate milk or fruit juice.

My question is very simple:

How do they expect students to succeed full of that much grease and carbohydrate in the afternoon?

It’s no wonder kids have trouble staying awake or sitting still during the second half of the school year. Where are the whole grains, the lean proteins? Where’s the freaking water?

I don’t know what to do about this, or even if I can do anything – other than have my kid start packing a lunch from now on. I once shared a plane ride with a reporter from Colorado Springs who was getting an advanced degree from Johns Hopkins just so school boards would listen to him about things like this. Makes me pessimistic about my chances.

Any black belts candidates out there who need an idea for a project?

Thanks for listening.