Category Archives: Politics

To tell or not to tell?

The bosshole we loved to hate.

The bosshole we loved to hate.

During my public relations career, I worked on my novel evenings and mornings. Often I wrote on the weekends. When I traveled, I wrote on my down time.

I had a wonderful boss. He was visionary, funny, strategic, and an all-around charmer. When we traveled together, his agenda was an early happy hour and some exploration time. We once hiked through a state park before an important meeting. If I told him my dream about becoming anovelist, I think he would have wished me well. Still, I kept the secret. You just never know.

As it turned out, he took a promotion and moved. What if he had shared my dream with his replacement?

I told a few trusted co-workers about novel. I was touched by their enthusiasm and questions. How’s it going? When do we get to read it? Did you hear from any of those agents? The place, however, was a gossip factory. I should know – I worked the gossip factory lines as much as the others.

I don’t think my co-worker friends abused my trust or laughed secretly about my dream. But I worried. I worried it would slip out and people would accuse of stealing work time for personal projects. I worried they’d use the network to read my files, playing detective. I did occasionally edit at work, but it was during lunch. But how would I explain that in a non-defensive way?

I wished I had kept my project to myself. Writers have enough paranoia without adding another layer.

Then I left for a new PR job. My co-workers were amazing people. Talented and funny with a teamwork attitude. They welcomed me and told me the office’s ups, downs, horror stories and successes.

But I worked for a bosshole. That guy was creepy, manipulative, arrogant, and cold enough to inflict frostbite with a simple handshake. He treated women like extras in his bosshole grand plan. That guy was stupid, too. My co-worker put it bluntly: his arrogance far exceeded his capacity.

The internal politics were strange: an employee hired a private detective for proof that the bosshole really was a bosshole. Alliances formed and then crumbled. There was a dividing line in the office. Nobody was allowed to straddle it.  Pick a side. Pick a side NOW.

Nobody shared their personal lives. Sure, my female teammates and I swapped cute kids stories and, since they’d been reporters, we shared commentaries on the state of journalism.

But I kept my mouth shut. We all had a three-year probation before becoming permanent staff, and there was the bosshole factor. Why take chances?

Bottom line: keep job work at the job; keep dream work in your home.


Dead coyotes, gun control and, yes, books


Rep. Tony Cornish ditches the NRA shirt for his lawmaker wardrobe.

I don’t claim to be an expert on guns. And this blog is about books and writing, not politics. Still, I have a tiny bit of credibility because I wrote three books about weapons for kids. See? It relates to the blog!

Last week, a state representative in Minnesota government wanted to make a point about the gun-control debate. Rep. Tony Cornish posted on Facebook a photo of himself, wearing an NRA shirt and holding an AR-15. Behind him is a coyote hanging from a tree. He shot the coyote from 225 yards.

“So gun control advocates,” Cornish said. “Explain to me how you don’t think the AR-15 is hunting rifle.”

From Wikipedia: The AR-15 is a lightweight, 5.56 mm, magazine-fed, semi-automatic rifle, with a rotating-lock bolt, actuated by direct impingement gas operation or long/short stroke piston operation.

Gun control advocates say the AR-15 isn’t for hunting. For the record, I’m not a hunter, but I support them. Hunting is part of our culture in the Midwest, and I’d rather see deer, for example, killed and used for food than starving in the winter because of overpopulation.

Back to the photo. The Mankato Free Press printed the photo with a story on gun control. Cornish thinks killing an animal with an AR-15 proves his point: The AR-15 should be considered is a hunting tool, not just a gun for shooting rampages in schools and movie theaters. Therefore, the government should not restrict this weapon or others like it.

Hmm. I could kill a coyote with a nuclear bomb. But that doesn’t mean I should.

Back to the book blog. To see my kids books about weapons and war, look under the “My Books” tab.