It's Good to CompartMENTALize
A passion for segregating passions
“I had no idea you were so political.” — reader of my novels, who just looked me up on social media and discovered that I’m also a longtime political columnist
“I can’t believe there isn’t anything political in your books.” — longtime reader of my political columns, who finally decided to take a chance on my novels
“Booyah!” — me, in response to each of these people
“Booyah — an exclamatory statement, often said when someone is extremely overjoyed. Often people do a hand movement simultaneously as they say 'Booyah' (clinching fist and thrusting their elbow downward vertically).” — Urban Dictionary
Before I make some sense of that weirdness above, I’ll go ahead and concede that “Booyah” is a wildly outdated term that hasn’t enjoyed notable circulation in American society for probably 20 years. Also, my wife hates when I say it, which is why I’m still inclined use it on occasion.
Anyway, the method to that madness that started off today’s Daly Grind newsletter was to make the point that I take some genuine pride in keeping my political views separate from my fiction work. In fact, I try to keep my politics detached from just about everything I do beyond my weekly columns and Twitter hot-takes. I don’t discuss political topics with friends and family (unless they initiate it). I don’t post snappy political memes on Facebook, Instagram, or anywhere else. My car hasn’t donned a political bumper sticker in years, and I don’t think I’ve ever had a campaign sign in my front yard.
One might assume it’s because I’m worried about offending people (something that’s pretty easy to do in these politically divisive times), but that honestly has nothing to do with it. I just think it’s important not to let politics become your identity.
Like many people, I have a passionate interest in the news of the day, cultural and societal issues, how our country is governed, and the individuals we put in power to represent us. But I don’t want that passion to ever consume me, and be the first or only thing that comes to people’s minds whenever they run into me somewhere, or hear my name come up in conversation.
I hold that belief because I think a person’s politics are actually one of the least interesting things about them.
I’m fortunate enough to have great friends on every end of the political spectrum, and it saddens me that a lot of people place themselves behind political walls that prevent such relationships from ever coming to fruition.
As comedian Dennis Miller has said, "I refuse to go through life defining who I'm going to be friends with, who I'm going to love, and who I'm going to hang with, from this 'D' or 'R' after people's names.”
I’m not suggesting that people bottle up their political passion to keep others from knowing what they think. By all means, if you feel strongly about an issue or lots of issues, let your voice be heard. I certainly take advantage of a couple of platforms to do just that.
But I also think it’s very important, for the sake of one’s health and relationships, to balance out that passion with other passions that are held near, dear, and completely separate. I’ll refer to this concept as compartMENTALization, mainly because I think what I did there with the caps lock key is somewhat clever.
For me, fiction writing is part of that balance (along with some other interests I might write about in a future newsletter). It lets me connect with readers from a wide range of backgrounds and belief systems. I enjoy that. I think it’s good. As an outlet, it also challenges me to focus my best efforts on the creation of something — something that is, in certain ways, quite personal and reflective of who I am as an individual.
No, the Sean Coleman character is not based on me (that’s a question I get from time to time). But I’d be lying if I said that my characters, along with several of the challenges and dilemmas they face in my books, aren’t at least, in some way, an extension of myself and my life experiences. They absolutely are. For that reason, there’s an added benefit of introspection that comes with that type of writing. And I believe introspection is good for the soul.
If I were to let reactionary politics overflow into that compartment, or other compartments of my life, I’m afraid it would cheapen those areas — those passions that I hold dear, and that make up my identity.
So, I try my best not to let it happen… and would recommend that everyone find ways of compartMENTALizing their lives.
Just my two cents. Take it for what it’s worth.
This was a fun little discovery. A video of a bear walking down a hallway made its rounds on Colorado news channels last week. Here’s a still shot:
The moment I saw it, I knew exactly where it was taken: YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado. Back in January (boy, does that feel like a lifetime ago), as part of a church outing, my daughter and I stayed two nights in this very lodge, on this very floor, along this very hallway. In fact, I took a picture of the hallway at the time, because I kind of dug the retro carpet (I’m into weird stuff like that):
Amusingly, I remember there being signs at both ends of the hallway reminding those staying in the lodge to keep the outside doors closed to prevent wildlife from wandering on in. At the time, I assumed it was in reference to smaller animals, like chipmunks, rabbits, or maybe even skunks. I guess I should have thought bigger.
By the way, if you live in Colorado, and have never been to YMCA of the Rockies, you should definitely check it out some time. It’s a great place for outdoor activities, wildlife viewing (usually not inside), and picture taking. Here’s a quick shot I took in the early morning of our last day there, as I was packing up the car:
Fall is Here
There’s an under-visited park just a few miles from our house that is absolutely beautiful… especially in the Fall. My family went for walk over there a couple evenings ago, and I figured I’d share from it some colors of the season:
If I could resurrect one slang phrase from past, and infuse it back into our popular culture, it would be “hanky-panky.” It is hands down the funnest way of describing shady sexual behavior, and it’s a shame that it ever disappeared from our everyday jargon.
As I mentioned in the last Daly Grind, I didn’t really start listening to the radio until the early 1980s (around the age of 10), at which time a whole new world of popular music was opened up for me. As such, there were several hot bands at the time that I falsely assumed were newcomers to the music scene (just because I hadn’t heard of them). One of those bands was Heart.
In defense of my childhood ignorance, my first exposure to the Ann and Nancy Wilson were radio singles off their self-titled album in 1985. To me, self-titled meant first. In reality, the album that brought us memorable songs like “These Dreams,” “What About Love,” and “Never” was actually the band’s eighth studio offering.
It wasn’t until I was quite a bit older that I understood just how prominent and important Heart was to the classic rock genre of the 1970s. It all started in 1975 with their groundbreaking album, “Dreamboat Annie.” It went Platinum and spawned three big singles, including my all-time favorite rocker by them, “Crazy on You.” Just between you and me, the song’s opening guitar solo still gives me goosebumps. Here’s a taste of it live, back in 2015, when my wife and I were fortunate enough to catch Heart on tour.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.
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Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!