Friday, January 2, 2009

Cockeyed Optimist

Rhys on Friday...thinking ahead to the new year and deciding that I must actually be an optimist. I realized that when I took down the tree today (it was bone dry--think artificial next year) and checked carefully to make sure there wasn't a small present tucked away among the branches that we had overlooked. I do this every year. I've never found one yet, but I keep looking.In the same way I always count my money at the ATM, hopeful that for once the machine has made a mistake a slipped in an extra twenty. My husband always counts to make sure the machine hasn't cheated him. Difference between optimist and pessimist, I guess.

Anyway, on this optimistic note, these are some of the things I hope will happen this year:

Someone does something about health care. Why not make medical school free for the brightest students, who in return have to work for four years at a reasonable salary at a community clinic. That way there would be free basic health care for everyone. And also let the government set a sensible price for all drugs by buying in huge bulk from the drug companies, so my unemployed daughter wouldn't have to pay $200 for eight pills of her migraine medicine.

Impose a "pay it forward" tax on all celebrities and CEOs who make millions a year. A baseball star might have to pay a million to a fund to keep sports programs in the schools. A CEO would pay his million to keep small businesses afloat, or provide literacy programs.

And on a more personal note: in case you haven't noticed, waaaay too many books are published each year. This recession may make publishers cut back their lists, which would be a good thing, providing we at JRR are the writers they keep!

So I start out the year looking forward to publishing two new books, In a Gilded Cage and later Royal Flush. I look forward to being Guest of Honor at Left Coast Crime in Hawaii. I look forward to the presidency of Obama and a renewed spirit of optimism in the country. I look forward to the end of war in the world, the greening of the planet and brotherly love among all factions.I guess I'm just a cockeyed optimist!

HANK: I saw an article in the paper today about hopes for the New Year. "World peace" was number 7.I'm with ya, Rhys. Lots of soldiers should be coming home. Right now.
I hope for the demise of greed, the source of most of the mess. I hope for little Molly (4) and Georgia (2) who live next door--their reality is emerging as incredibly different. For worse, sometimes, but also for much better.People are smiling at each other again, even in this adversity.
I hope that all of that "hope" that seems to be floating around out there turns into joy and reality.

JAN: I hope that the economic downturn helps more people focus on what really matters. I hope this is the end of artificial waterfalls installed in people's back yards,$15,000 sweet sixteen parties, and $700 high heels.I hope that the country gives Obama the time and support he's going to need. I hope for once, people take a break from speculative criticism and that both right wing radio shows and far left liberals LAY OFF.I'm writing a screenplay about the 1976 murder of a Harvard Football player in Boston, which I consider an incredibly important story in the history of the city. I hope and pray that I can do it justice.

RHYS: Jan, my next door neighbor has been having his front yard terraced and a waterfall created for the past six months. It has to have run up to at least $100,000 by now and is nowhere near finished. I think this sort of desire for status and material possessions is why I enjoyed a Christmas market cruise in Austria a couple of years ago. The Christmas markets had simple wooden toys, gingerbread goodies, mulled wine. I got the feeling that this was how Christmas should be.


  1. I hope that people with very strong religious beliefs stop and take a deep breath and realize that we are not so very different, I hope that the culture of divisiveness in this country is toned down, I hope that America's place in the international community is somewhat restored by the new administration, and at the risk of being a downer...I hope that nothing bad happens to Obama...I also hope that the $700 shoes go on sale so I can buy them without Jan thinking that I'm a total loser. ;-)

  2. I'll second Rhys's "pay it forward" for celebrities and CEOs, but not less books being published unless mine get to stay in print, too. Me, selfish? You bet. But so far readers seem entertained by my work. (We'll find out next month when the second book comes out.)

  3. In 2009 I hope that anyone who goes out on the water does so with a life preserver on.

  4. Collective bargaining to bring down the cost of prescription drugs would be a fantastic development for this year! Other countries do it...but of course, their savings gets passed on to us in the form of higher prices. Still, there has to be a way. Also, malpractice tort reform in all states, not just five. That would bring other medical costs down, as well.

  5. Good suggestions everyone! Since I'm visiting 3 elderly parents this week, I'm thinking about how the country handles our old people--not very well! With a ton of Baby Boomers heading down that path, I'd like to see more thought put into what contributes to good quality of life for elderly people. I don't think the answer is sticking them (us!) into nursing homes at whopping expense. Group living situations with opportunities to socialize and contribute to the world, good food, well-paid helpers???

  6. All wonderful sentiments, Rhys. Great post.

    I like the idea of paying it forward. Even with our relatively small wins this last year, we reached out and gave: mostly to the local Food Bank and Toys for Tots. Giving some more tomorrow.

    I'm an Aussie by birth, and while we have our own problems, we do the medical bit okay. My brother in law, who went through a rollercoaster of pain and suffering this last six months with his Parkinson's Disease, has had most of it supported by the Government medical scheme and the private health insurance my sister pays into. Their PHI doesn't cost as much as it does over here. She has all the help she needs in respite care and nursing from the local country chapter of the Parkinson's Disease support group. Thank God. My sister had a breakdown through it all, but both she and hubby are recovering nicely. Parkinson's research is gonna get a nice fat check real soon now. :-D

    2009 will be a better and brighter year for all, I think. :-D


  7. To be completely honest, Ro, since I'm five foot ten and have feet that have run too many miles and played too much tennis, its easy for me to pass on $700 high heels.

    You notice I'm not putting a limit on tennis rackets......

    And Rhys, on the celebrity tax thing... I really like the idea, but I think we're going to have to refine the definitions. How about extremely rich people who aren't celebrities??? (i'm thinking of a few patent trolls...) And are celebrities who are bad money managers(Willy Nelson? Dane Cook?) exempt?

    And can we please, please, please put an extra harsh tax on Manny Ramiriz and Scott Boras??

  8. I hope there will be jobs for our children.

  9. Okay, this is one of the best expressions of hopefulness I've ever seen ...