I've just returned from the most beautiful place in the world--Yellowstone National Park and Paradise Valley, Montana. I spent 6 days hiking, clearing my mind, and taking in the scenery. For me hiking is more spiritual than church, and I always return feeling as though I spent the entire week with God.
The wildlife was stunning. I watched a great grey owl hunt for about 20 minutes before pouncing on a vole. I saw a bald eagle steal a salmon from an otter. I even got to see a black bear...from a safe distance, of course. I hate to admit it, but I had tears in my eyes when I saw the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone from a south rim trail that I'd never hiked before. If you've never seen the canyon, it quite literally looks like it was carved by the hand of God. Truly spectacular.
Yellowstone made environmentalists and conservationists out of the likes of Teddy Roosevelt and LBJ, and I'm happy to say it did the same for me 4 years ago. As it says in the book of Leviticus (25:23-24), "The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants...you must provide for the redemption of the land." We are all living in God's apartment, and He doesn't want us throwing wild parties!
Upon my return I checked my `snail' mail (you know...like you do), and I noticed I had received my signed contract from my publisher. This was it. It's official. I'm an author...and I have a deadline (aw, CRAP!). But the good news is I get to support the backbone of the American economy--the small business owner. Better still, I get to support the small liberal business owner!
"Confessions of a Former Dittohead" will be published by Ig Publishing in May, 2006. Check them out! They've got some great titles. (May I recommend "For Fucks Sake" by Robert Lasner? I'm not just sucking up! Honest!) You'll notice their website has the header "A Small Press With A Large Voice (Or A Big Mouth)." How could I possibly publish my book anywhere else? So while you wait for next May, go buy something from Ig, or failing that maybe send them an email thanking them for taking a chance on a first time author like myself.
I hold no unreasonable expectations for my book. I hope it will sell well, of course, but that's not why I let you kossaks "bully" me into writing it. !8) I was thinking about this parable while I was hiking, and I think it pretty well expains what I'm hoping for:
One morning an elderly man was walking on a nearly deserted beach. He came upon a boy surrounded by thousands and thousands of starfish. As eagerly as he could, the youngster was picking them up and throwing them back into the ocean.
Puzzled, the older man looked at the young boy and asked, "Little boy, what are you doing?"
The youth responded without looking up, "I'm trying to save these starfish, sir."
The old man chuckled aloud, and queried, "Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?"
Holding a starfish in his hand, the boy turned to the man and, gently tossing the starfish into the water, said, "It will make a difference to that one!"
With a little luck this book will be the right book at the right time for some otherwise reasonable dittohead. And maybe if we're very lucky, my story along with other heartfelt stories from us "new blood" Democrats will help sway the 2006 elections. As the Hopi elders say, "We are the one's we've been waiting for." Now it's time we made a difference.