Wednesday, January 21, 2004


This month's MIM column is up. I was glad to get it done and out. My Garden and Hearth column is out, that is to be published on February 1. A few new installments of my fiction project are out. I should be writing the next one right about now. I have two important (to me) articles due by the 30th (earlier if I choose to leave room for a little editor-writer back-and-forth) and a handful of assigned work with flexible deadlines and low pay. Some interesting queries out and some straight-up spec work in progress... the writing life is grand.

This brutal -- disgustingly so -- winter has convinced me to be better organized this year. I work from home, a freelance writer. I can do this anywhere in the world. And, I am sitting here, shivering in front of my keyboard... How stupid is that?

Yes, that and our President's State of the Union address, as well as the oh-so-disappointing field of Democrats to choose from has moved me from fantasizing about expatriate status to running my numbers and making a solid game plan.

President Bush said:

"In my budget, I have proposed new funding to continue our aggressive, community-based strategy to reduce demand for illegal drugs. Drug testing in our schools has proven to be an effective part of this effort. So tonight I propose an additional 23 million dollars for schools that want to use drug testing as a tool to save children's lives."

I live in a neighborhood in which every single school is red-flagged as failing by the state. In the elementary school just a few blocks from my house, only 13% of 4th graders are able to perform at grade level in Math and English. In schools throughout the nation, there are not enough qualified teachers to teach or textbooks for students. Some schools do not even have enough chairs.

And what is expected to be accomplished by drug testing? Treatment facilities are chronically underfunded, with many of those seeking drug treatment placed on waiting lists, as there is no room for them in the available programs.

President Bush also said that "To help children make right choices, they need good examples." Indeed.

Well, we must must prepare for our journey out into the cold -- layer after layer of clothing. It takes longer to get us all dressed than it does to actually make the grocery store run.

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