Friday, January 30, 2004

Marthin Luther King, Jr.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.


Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.


Cowardice asks the question - is it safe?
Expediency asks the question - is it politic?
Vanity asks the question - is it popular?
But conscience asks the question - is it right?
And there comes a time when one must take a position
that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular;
but one must take it because it is right.


Nonviolence is the answer
to the crucial political and moral questions of our time:
the need for man to overcome oppression and violence
without resorting to oppression and violence.
Man must evolve for all human conflict
a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation.
The foundation of such a method is love.


A nation that continues year after year
to spend more money on military defense
than on programs of social uplift
is approaching spiritual death.


Man was born into barbarism
when killing his fellow man
was a normal condition of existence.
He became endowed with a conscience.
And he has now reached the day
when violence toward another human being
must become as abhorrent as eating another's flesh.


Somehow this madness must cease.
We must stop now.
I speak as a child of God and brother
to the suffering poor of Vietnam.
I speak for those whose land is being laid waste,
whose homes are being destroyed,
whose culture is being subverted.
I speak for the poor in America
who are paying the double price
of smashed hopes at home
and death and corruption in Vietnam.
I speak as a citizen of the world,
for the world as it stands aghast
at the path we have taken.
I speak as an American
to the leaders of my own nation.
The great initiative in this war is ours.
The initiative to stop it must be ours.


Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction....
The chain reaction of evil --
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars --
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation.


Like anybody, I would like to live a long life.
Longevity has its place.
But I'm not concerned about that now.
I just want to do God's will.
And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain.
And I've looked over.
And I've seen the promised land.
I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know tonight,
that we, as a people will get to the promised land.

Lies and Liars

Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.


Yes, I am rich. Though maybe not in terms of money, but I do believe that I am rich as a person. Because I have compassion. I give back. I volunteer. I send donations. I sponsor a child in Africa. I work with disabled children.

It doesn't make me a saint. Far from it. But at least I don't say "what is mine is mine -- you don't deserve anything because you haven't worked for it."

The thing is, you think this world is full of "equal opportunties" -- well it's not. The guy who makes millions and smokes a cigarette does not have the same "opportunities" as the guy on welfare who smokes a cigarette. Not everyone has an IQ of 125 and above and not everyone was borned in middle-class and not everyone has the same opportunities even if they try. To lump them all up as "ungrateful, unworthy, lazy bums" is naive and cold.

Compassion. That's what this world lacks.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Note to Self

I will succeed
My novel will be published this year by a major house
My novel will become best seller
George Bush will lose the election this year
If I put my mind to it, I can accomplish anything

Thursday, January 8, 2004

The Writer's Ego

The writer's ego is a dangerous thing.

Yes, we all like to daydream. And dreaming is essential for the writer's life -- imagination is the food for the writer's soul. But daydreams are different from expectations. The writer's ego demands certain expectations. No wonder writers -- successful or not -- are a generally depressed lot.

So, I've gotten an email from a prospective agent asking to read my whole manuscript. One week after I sent out my query. Woo hoo! I was elated. Upon sending her the manuscript, images start to dance in my head: The agent cries at the denouement of my book, congratulates me for writing such a heart-wrenching, compelling story, and offers to represent me right there. Then comes a book contract. Publication day. Book signing. Adoring fans. Book tours. Oprah. New York Times bestseller list. Movie rights.... I see stars and I really think that I am within reach!

Well, kiddo, it's nice to dream, but don't expect much. The publishing world is a very cut-throat one. Just because someone shows a slight interest in seeing what you've got doesn't mean you're going to be invited to the party.

The agent wrote back a few days later, saying, "I cannot connect with the material." Whatever that means. Reality can be a hard pill to swallow. I can only suspect that either she did not read the whole thing (given it was over a short weekend) or she only skimmed through it. And I assume that she was expecting something else (a romance novel, perhaps) and it turned out not to be. Anyway, the reason is not quite as important. The important thing is that I've learned. I've learned not have expectations. I still dream, but I don't expect anything to happen overnight. Fairytales do happen sometimes, but I being in one of them is unlikely.

I've learned to put aside my writer's ego, and objectively reevaluate my work, my approach, and my expectations. Here's my conclusion:

1. My book is good. Best thing I've ever written.
2. I have to approach this campaign differently. Time to be really professional and aggressive. And know that I can prevail. All I need is one agent, just one, to believe in me. It's all a number game.
3. By far the hardest thing to do: I've asked myself not to expect anything. Not to expect anything at all until the book is out in the bookstore. Don't expect miracles. Don't expect fairytales. Don't expect everyone will love the book. The only thing I know is that I believe in it, and someday, someone else will.

After a day or two of depression, what did I do? I dive back in, more energized than ever. It's a challenge for me. If I can't persevere, no one can help me.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Internet Squabbles

People tend to argue a lot when they can't see each other. Hiding behind the computer is a fun thing, but people tend to let it get out of hand.

It's only the Internet, so take it easy!

That said, treat others as you'd like to be treated. Nobody likes to be treated like crap -- no matter how high your self esteem is. It's easy to trash someone else because it doesn't concern you. I like this analogy:

It's easy to punch holes in the wall, but once they're there, they're there. Even if you patch them, there will always be holes in the wall, whether you see them or not.

Think before you punch any holes in someone's soul.

Pete Rose

We definitely have too much hero worshiping going on as far as sports stars are concerned. Really, how did they help humanity? They play games for $$$ and fame and every vice that comes with them. They promote our false pride. Granted, there are good people in sports, but we as general public tend to NOT care about anything except that they're heroes simply because they can throw a ball or jump high. We ridicule someone like Michael Jackson to no end, and chide entertainers for their wicked ways (how many jokes have we heard about Roy Horn?), but we turn a blind eye to sports stars' bad or even criminal behaviors. You turn on TV and these sportscasters are speaking of their stars like they were Gods.

It boggles my mind that Pete Rose has a road named after him but Fred Rogers doesn't.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Happy New Year

It's the first day back to work -- and I mean work. I'm sending out the next batch of query letters. See how these work.