Archive for the ‘alex abella’ Category

The Price of Independence

Saturday, September 7th, 2013

If the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, as Thomas Jefferson said, then the price of independence is eternal diligence.  But do most people know the difference?

Freedom is, after all, the absence of oppression—in simple terms, nobody telling you what to do.  But independence is far more difficult to achieve—it is the ability to be self-sustaining and not dependent on others. We were free from British power once we won the Revolutionary War in 1783, but we were not truly independent of British power and influence until the War of 1812.

So it is with writers nowadays, particularly those of us who self-publish on Kindle, Kobo,  Apple,  and the like. We are free from the dictates of publishers and editors telling us what to write, how to write it and when to publish–but we are totally dependent on our own efforts when it comes to publicity, promotion, sales and distribution. And when it comes to that, the job is endless. It is exactly like having a business in which you’re designer, manufacturer, distributor, sales and publicity all at once. If you do not want to be what the Japanese used to call a salary man—or woman—and you want to live life on your own terms, you have to hustle.

The danger of eternal diligence is that you forget the reason why you’re independent to begin with, which is to create on your own terms.  You must always remember that hustling, or in the writers’ world, social media and publicity, are a means to an end—and that end is to write the way you want to for the audience that you have in in mind.

That same lesson can be applied to all facets of life. If you really want to be independent, you can never rely on anybody but yourself, which is exceedingly hard to do—you have to do everything and do it well.  So yes, I don’t subscribe to the 4 -Hour Work Week, the 4-Hour Body, the 4-Hour Chef or the 4-Hour anything. That is just a hoax.  But if you succeed at achieving independence, you will be truly your own person, beholden to no one—and the closest thing to God that any human can be.

Hello again

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

To all of you who have waited for my book on RAND to come out, the wait is over. Although official publication date is May 14, it’s already for sale on Amazon and all major bokstores.

Early reviews have been very encouraging, and we’ve been promised reviews in The New York Times, The Washington Post and other major media. I did a podcast for the WashPost the other day, which is supposed to be going online sometime this week or next. The editors wanted to wait until the Pa. primary was over so it wouldn’t be swallowed up by the political news. I also did another one at, which is available right now.

For more info, check back with my site in a couple of days, I’m updating it with all the news about SOLDIERS OF REASON. I should add that I’m going to be appearing at the ALOUD series in the Los Angeles Public Library in June with Mike Shuster of NPR. Needless to say, I am both flattered and a little nervous. I hope all of you who read this will be there to lend moral support. 

Speaking of Pa….As a Democrat, I am saddened to read how many people in that state still said they considered race to be an issue when deciding on a candidate. I had really hoped we were all beyond that, and that what counted in the U.S. was no longer the color of your skin but the content of your character.  Even the size of your bank account as a deciding factor would have been better than the subtle racism that permeated that campaign. 

Of course, it was a battle of the millionaires, but Obama’s three or four mill hardly compares to the $100+ that Clinton earned over the last decade. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t begrudge her the money, but I do think that knocking back boilermakers and claiming to be a hunter (full disclosure–I belong both to the ACLU and the NRA) as a way to reach out to the average voter was just a bit too rich for my taste. I just couldn’t believe that all the good people of Pennsylvania, in all those both beautiful  and  blighted rural counties, would fall for that pitch. 

Now that they’re both onto Indiana, I wonder just how sharp an elbow Obama will throw at her to finally get her out of the game. Will he continue to play the part of the idealistic but ultimately ineffectual Stevenson–or God forbid, George McGovern–or will he rememeber his South Side training and become the canny ward politician that JFK was?

This continues to be the most intereresting primary season since the Vietnam War.


Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

In the beginning was the word–John 1: 1

No, this is not a religious blog–although there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I myself am a religious man, but religion is not what I want to talk about today. Since this is my first blog, I want to remind readers that narrative is at the heart of all human understanding. It is our capacity, correction, our desperate need for narrative that frames our existence.

We may be because we think but we think in narration. We are always the heroes of our own tales, and as Aristotle discovered, we always look for antagonists, if not villains. Thus the worldwide popularity of Hollywood tales and their mechanical three act structure. Thus also the need to understand the world around us in narrative arcs, to seek beginnings, middles and endings, in an echo of the way we perceive our own existence from birth to grave.

This then will be my attempt to impart some measure of narrative to the often apparently incoherent world that surrounds us. Especially here in Los Angeles, which is fast becoming the epicenter of a new kind of city and a new hybrid civilization, which takes disparate elements from myriad cultures and races, mixes them all together in unexpected ways and hurls them back out to see if they can survive in our burning alleys and polluted thoroughfares as if in some kind of mad Darwinian ordeal by fire.

Or maybe it’s all intelligent design…But that’s for another day. For now I have to get back to my book on RAND and the way the world really works…