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Sunday, January 4, 2015

My Book Is Just About Ready

Those of you who have been with us from the beginning (God bless you), will recall that the reason I created this blog was to introduce my book to potential readers.  The aptly titled book, "Mukhabarat, Baby", took five years to complete.  The Agency review process is not included in that time period, as their eight months of manuscript possession and the four months required to stitch things back together added a year to the total.  It has taken six years to reach this point.  Last summer, when I started this blog, I envisioned the opportunity to comment on current events from an intelligence collection perspective, while also sharing excerpts and anecdotes from MB.  I have enjoyed the blog so much, and in ways I never anticipated.  My close friend Tina provided me with a couple priceless "Twitter lessons", and explained the value of staying current and conversant in the Twittersphere.  I found myself commenting on current events in an evening post and then discussing my comments on Twitter the next afternoon.  I love just about everything about blogging, and I have no intentions of slowing down after the publishing of the book.

One thing that I learned during this process is the importance of each and every viewer.  The same must be said for readers of a particular book.  Impacting one person can make all the difference between success and failure, so every pair of eyes is equally important.  When writing MB, I made every effort to stay non-political, and I approached the blog with the same intention.  That effort last all of three weeks.  When capturing images of the past and transferring those images into written word, the emotions of the characters and the signature event dominate the narrative.  There is no room for something as petty as politics unless you intentionally create room.  When commenting on current events, politics are difficult to avoid.  Real-time includes a "tomorrow", full of countless unknown variables.  We are tasked to suppose those variables.  Knowing a character's politics is invaluable in creating a hypothesis for the future.  It took some time for me to come up with that bullshit excuse; the truth is, I began to include a bit of political commentary in my posts because certain powerful leaders were pissing me off.

No doubt I've come down hard on Russian President Vladimir Putin, and also looney tunes President Christina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina.  The majority of my criticism, though, has been closer to home.  I have not always been so frustrated with Barrack Obama.  I voted for the other guy in '08 and '12, but I wanted Obama to succeed.  Actually, because I'm fundamentally opposed to Socialism, I knew his policies would fail.  What I sincerely hoped for, was that our first African American President would prioritize the issue of race in our country in a way that would highlight our commonalities.  I wanted President Obama to create an "Urban blight" czar, someone whose job would be focused exclusively on combating violence in urban black communities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit.  I hoped that money usually wasted on entitlements would be spent on education, training and job creation in our most at-risk neighborhoods.  Was I setting myself up for disappointment or what?  The only time Obama addresses the issue of race in the United States is either to score political points by exacerbating an existing problem, or to point out our failures to a room full of tin-horn dictators and Socialists at the United Nations.  In six years I have heard not a word about a legitimate state-by-state effort to address the number of teenage, unwed mothers in the black community.  Has President Obama created a panel of famous successful African-Americans to help create better role models for young black men other than the gangsters and hip-hop artists who dominate their lives?  Its as if we elected a black President, but what we got in reality was another middle-aged, crusty, political, disingenuous white guy.  All that seems to matter is the entrenchment of his economic and social philosophy at all costs.

I continue to avoid politics with the blog as much as I'm able.  My favorite saying is that "opinions are like assholes; everybody has one and everybody's stinks".  My opinions belong to me, but at the end of the day, they come and go and are probably the least thing of value that I have.  I have no problem with folks who disagree with me, and I can count a number of Democrats as long-time close friends.  As for my book....... I would be lying if I said it wasn't a difficult experience.  Having another person read and critique one's writing can be a painful process.  At the end of the day, what is important is the integrity of your message.  After all is said and done, my book is still my own.  I read myself in every line, on every page, and in every chapter.  I'm fortunate because I have those stories locked away in my own personal grey matter archives.  I think the stories are special and I want to share them with you.  Think of this blog as the first step in a trip we are taking together.  I truly hope all of you will be on board for the next ride.

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