Journal Entry #4

October 4, 2007

Ron Vick called Wednesday with an invitation to attend the tenth Willycon. I was GoH at the first one in 1998. It's conducted on the campus at Wayne State College in Wayne, NE. Willycon X will be held on the weekend of April 4, 2008. Naturally I said sure. Enjoyed myself last time.

This past Saturday I participated in the construction of a memorial to the more than one hundred Georgians who have died in Iraq. We hammered stakes into the ground, one for each, and placed helmets on them. I'm convinced that nobody should be allowed near the Oval Office without first bring required to read The Naked and the Dead, or, if we have a nonreader, watching at least a dozen episodes of M*A*S*H.

Coincidentally, I've been involved with The Big Read, a government-funded program managed by the Glynn County Fine Arts Council, headed by Heather Heath. I've done a couple of radio programs with Heather and host Scott Ryfun, conducted a pair of discussions, and attended a dramatic adaptation. Bradbury's point, for those who have forgotten or possibly not read the book, is that we may well allow ourselves to get so caught up watching low level TV and other mindless entertainment, that mental development stops. That we get caught up in an endless round of football and reality shows, and lose the point of being alive: interaction with others, starting somewhere maybe with Plato, and continuing the process by having lunch with friends and, occasionally, bringing up a serious topic.

One more connected event to do: "The Dangers of the Unexamined Life," at the Brunswick (GA) Library, Sunday, Oct 14, at 3:00 p.m. One consequence that comes immediately to mind, of course: uninformed voters will elect uninformed politicians. H.L. Mencken thought that happens routinely. "A democracy," he once said, "is where the voters get what they vote for. Good and Hard."

Tried reading Balzac Wednesday evening. Not much luck. I'll take him with me to Necronomicon this weekend and try again. Will report on results.

This Monday and Tuesday, I'll be at the University of Southern Florida, as a guest of Rick Wilber. I get to conduct two classes, one each day.

Deadline for The Devil's Eye is just six weeks away. Still working on the second draft. This will be the fourth Alex Benedict novel. Alex gets a warning of impending disaster from the premier horror writer of the age, who has just returned from Salud Afar, easily the most distant world inhabited by humans. So far outside the galaxy that there is only one star in the sky. The writer has everything to live for, yet she subjects herself to a brain wipe before Alex can talk to her. Her warning: "They're all dead." So Chase & Alex are off to Salud Afar, a place of supposedly haunted beaches and strange noises in its forests. But there's no indication anywhere of a problem.

— Jack

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