West of Tomorrow – A Romance of Shifting Truths

Sunrise in the Coastal Range

Half an Hour West of Tomorrow

Recently, someone asked me about West of Tomorrow, my first novel. I did what most writers have been told to do, which was to trot out my thirty second elevator pitch. About midway through, he stopped me with the question he really wanted answered, specifically: “will I like it and if so, why?”

It’s the dreaded question every author must face, at some point. Okay, maybe you’ve written a book. A fair response these days is: “so who hasn’t?” There were almost half a million titles released in English, last year. It may even be a good book. But can’t thousands of authors who published last year make the same claim?  To be fair, I think the answer is yes. So. Why should you read West of Tomorrow? I thought you’d never ask…

West of Tomorrow is an intelligent, thought-provoking romance set in our time. It follows nine pivotal months in the life of Clay Conover as he deals with the search for love on the back side of middle age. In the wake of the near-simultaneous disintegration of his love life and career, Clay is confronted with a dwindling set of options and limited time in which to implement them. As happens so often in times of shifting paradigms and great change, he finds himself in position where he must reinvent himself, personally and professionally. On the professional level, he is in no position to retire.

While Clay has savings enough (he hopes) to get through a prolonged unemployment as he searches for a position commensurate with his skills and experience, it’s not inexhaustible. More importantly, he has past he must confront-and come to terms with-before he can move on to the future he would like to create. Along the way, Clay makes deals with some of the disquieting realities of the new millennium and the elusive questions of fulfillment  and how much control we have over outcomes.

Above all, West of Tomorrow it is about finding of the phoenix in all of us when (as happens to most of us) we find ourselves standing on the edge of cliff, half an hour west of a future at once exciting and uncertain.

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West of Tomorrow & Project 562

Project 562

Just a quick shout out to encourage readers to get behind the project and the people it seeks to reveal. In a time when we’re finally getting around to recognizing Gay & Lesbians as having a honorable place in civilized society, this is long overdue.

Project 562 is the beautiful vision of Matika Wilbur who is on a four year mission to help re-orient & redefine our view of the indigenous peoples of our land. She has a Kick Starter project for funding & anyone who agrees it’s time for a richer, more understanding view of those who were here first, please join me in donating what you can.

We who take our place in the United States for granted have no role in helping our indigenous brothers and sisters define themselves. But maybe we can at least stand aside as the redefine themselves in ways that empower & honor them. Anyway…if you agree with me that Native Americans are a priceless part of our heritage, may I invite you to follow the link & maybe share a dollar or two in behalf of the project?

Just sayin…

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West of Tomorrow- “Why is There So Much Anarchy?”

In my post for today, I’ve included a link to an article published by StratFor. If you’re familiar with them, you’ll be right at home with this story and will not be disappointed by the relatively short time you need to invest in order to take away valuable insights.  As always, StratFor reports & what is with judicious intelligence (& to the extent possible) draws inferences about what’s next. There are few unclassified summaries of our times that are better, IMHO.

If you’re a Progressive as I am, you may finish the article a little dissatisfied with the absence of prescriptive solutions both from an American policy perspective & (more generally) a notion of how an international & outward-looking consciousness might be fostered. All of us who believe in a future, somewhere West of Tomorrow look for solutions that grow out of understanding.

That’s as it should be. But on a practical level, it is for us as (hopefully) thoughtful & reasoning humans to determine what policies we should be urging our duly elected representatives to pursue.If you’ve been paying attention, lately, the kerfuffle over Iran and Benghazi probably has you a bit skeptical with regard to our government to craft an enlightened, never mind intelligent cluster of policies.

I’m going to suggest ever so gently we all get over it and make our wishes known. We have an election coming up. The reasonable and well-founded disgust many of us have over Congressional (& often Executive) behavior shenanigans can easily lead us to conclude it’s hopeless. Still, we’re obliged to make our wishes known. (I know, I know…) Like most of them actually listen! In many cases you may be right. But I’ve always been one of those guilty of hopeful optimism. The truth is, when we speak, some actually listen. For the rest? You know what to do. November is coming. If you haven’t already registered, get started. Avoid the rush & get your absentee ballot…and USE it!

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Where is “West of Tomorrow?”

Change & the Crucible of Growth

I was a weird kid, growing up. Friends made allowances, out of familiarity provided I didn’t make them uncomfortable. But by seventh grade, my peers’ patience had atrophied & by eighth grade, it was painfully obvious I wasn’t cool and would never be. The kinds of things I read, the way I spoke and some of the things I did set me apart–usually in ways adding nothing to my standing.

In retrospect, I think I needed to grow into my identity. Okay, okay…I’m still growing into it. But these days, I don’t rattle around inside myself, as when I was younger. Which doesn’t mean the struggle is over–it’s just less intimidating.

My struggles weren’t (and aren’t) remarkable–and way less painful than many of our brothers and sisters endure, both around the block & around the world. These days I am inspired by what others have weathered and overcome to thrive. But for me and (perhaps) most of us, struggles are most impactful when they are personal. They are relevant (painfully, sometimes) precisely because they are personal. The same can be said of West of Tomorrow, my first novel.

West of Tomorrow–A Story of Becoming

West of Tomorrow

Where are we when we’re “West of Tomorrow?”

The original title was “Half an Hour West of Tomorrow,” but I shortened it because it was well, shorter. Oh…and if fit more comfortably on the cover. But either way, the words in the title point to the dilemma we all face personally and together in the broader global village we share.

 So…where are we when we’re “West of tomorrow?” Individually, west of tomorrow is the self-defining dilemma most of us face at least once. For some of us (either by accident or design) it is one of a series of dilemmas. But sooner or later, we find ourselves balancing precariously on the knife’s edge of choices real, inexorable & irrevocable. We may choose or choose not to choose, but either way, we will never be the same. From the global perspective, west of tomorrow is a series of decisions we make–actively or passively–that will determine our collective fate.

In West of Tomorrow, each of the characters in the story finds themselves half an hour west of their tomorrow. The faint glow of light in the east is for each of them, both potential and warning. Each character will be shaped forever by their choices–choices made against the backdrop of events they understand imperfectly and don’t control. West of Tomorrow is a nuanced tale of human frailty and the phoenix in all of us, set in a time of shifting paradigms and flexible ethics. Coming in 2014 in ebook and paperback.

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West of Tomorrow: What the hell are we doing?

The Dark Side of Growth

I ran across this the other day on Upworthy & felt obliged to share the link.  There is a dark side of growth, when we attempt to superimpose it on a finite, closed system. The ugly truth about growth & our mindless addiction to it in the name of greed is that the growth we seek usually comes @ the expense of the defenseless.

It’s easy to miss or overlook when it involves someone/something whose daily impact on us is minimal or even invisible. But as some point, the things we do (even by tacitly turning a blind eye) come home to roost…yes, the pun was intentional with malice of forethought.

In the second decade of the 21st Century, we stand half an hour west of tomorrow, writing the words likely to be our epitaph; epitaph written in 28 point type, proclaiming the fate of our victims. The fate of the birds & the bees is nothing if not a clear indicator of our own, should we be silly enough to ignore it. Will we wake up in time to save them and ourselves or will we go their way, prey to our own indifference and greed. We are all guilty and will suffer their fate. Just thinking out loud…

 

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