Saturday, March 7, 2009

I have taken a position as site manager of a new writer's community website:

Please go to this site to read my new work. If you are interested in writing it would be very helpful to me for you to contribute your own political commentary, reactions to news events, etc.

The more new writers I get the better it will be for me.

Peace: tex

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tell The Corpse You're Sorry

by tex norman

Publisher: Wild Hare Press
Copyright: © 2009 tex norman Standard Copyright License
Language: English
Country: United States
Edition: First
Version: 1

Paperback book $4.84

Printed: 156 pages, 5.5" x 8.5", perfect binding, white interior paper (50# weight), black and white interior ink, white exterior paper (100# weight), full-color exterior ink


After a car accident the author spent three months caring for his wife as she healed from her injuries, and in his down time he wrote essays. Hundreds of essays were written, most published on a writer website called Searchwarp. This is a selection from those essays dealing with depression.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Making the Grade

Since leaving school I am not often
graded, but I very often grade myself
and I can be a rigid rigorous appraiser
of my performances, a joyful sadistic
scrutinizer with a wide red pen
feeling productive only from finding
fault, as if life were True/False,
as if every problem was corrected
by one answer only. With me there
is no partial credit, and what would
extra credit mean if I fail at the core
curriculum of me? Every moment is
an interim report:

Fathering Skills...........................F
Good Husband............................D-
(Is there a something lower than F?)

I know LIFE is more of a subjective
essay than an objective test. While
my life seems to be multiple choice
I rarely feel the right answer is
included in the list. My life has no
resemblance to a math problem
with set steps, a single formula, and
never more than a couple of ways
to find an answer. Why can't I
grade me using an S for Satisfactory
a U for Unsatisfactory, or, more
importantly, and E for effort?
Better yet, why not use smiley faces
and frowny faces, or perhaps I could
become one of those namby-pamby
teachers filled with compassion who
always grades on the curve.

Originally published on for Tex Norman Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Article Source: Making the Grade (a poem)

The Forty Fascicles of Emily Dickenson


I think about Emily Dickinson all the time. As a kid I had been exposed to maybe three of her poems because they were included in our literature books at school, but that fact alone was enough to kill any interest in her for all time. Later on I somehow got a copy of some of her works and ended up reading the thing late into the night. I'd grown up in a fundamentalist church and I was very familiar with the poetic structure of a hymns. I noticed that there was a similarity in structure, but the works were far deeper than most of the hymns of my childhood. While I didn't understand or even like every poem, I did find 6 or 8 of those poems to be among the best I'd ever read. I always want to know more about the writers I admire. I'm looking for something in their past that will give me insight into the secret of great writing. I haven't found the secret out, not yet, but I continue to look for it.

As I read about Emily Dickinson I learned that she was a sort of recluse, an introverted odd duck, and since that was the way I saw myself, I formed a connection to her. Emily had made a half-hearted attempt to get a poem published, and failed, and I had made a few more efforts to be published, but I was just as half-hearted as she had been, and rejection was as crushing to me as it was for her. From time to time I read her biography, which is more about the history going on around her than about her, since she left us so little direct insight into her life. In one passage I read that she sent her sister to request someone come and play the piano for her, but when they came Emily remained in another room, never meeting the guests face to face, and listening from a safe and private distance.

Emily's sister Lavinia knew that Emily was writing poems, but she was apparently unaware of just how important writing poetry was to her little sister. One might be tempted to assume that because Emily didn't publish poetry in her life time, that she was writing poetry just for herself, that her poems were private and not intended to be read by strangers, but if you think this you are mistaken. Poetry is intended to have an audience. Poetry is self-expression, but is is also communication. You can't have self-expression if you don't have a target audience to which you are expressing your self. It is highly possible that your target audience is the little red headed girl in the third aisle second desk from the front. It is even possible in rare cases that a poet's target audience is himself or herself. In the case of Emily Dickinson, we have clues that tell us that Ms. Dickinson desperately wanted readers, and was preparing to have readers.

Emily Dickinson, as she neared the end of her life, roughly between the years of 1858 and1864, started going through her many hundreds of poems, sorting them out, and selecting sets of poems to be grouped together. Then Ms. Dickinson started a craft as she hand copied the poems into little booklets, and used ribbon or twin to bind the packets up, neatly storing these packets of poems away. These booklets are referred to by scholars as fascicles. Lavinia, when she discovered them among her dead sisters things, called them little volumes. In all there were 40 fascicles containing over 800 poems. There is no question that there was purpose and intention behind how the fascicles were collected. Scholars that have studied the primary documents tell us that the arrangement of the fascicles are not in chronological order. The poems in these little packets contain poems written in different years. Ms. Dickenson was not just gathering her poems into a pile, she was arranging the for publication. Actually, by hand copying the fascicles and binding the packets with little pieces of twine, she was self-publishing. Had she lived in the days of, she very well might have published her works using the economical and effective Publish On Demand (POD) services offered by and her more expensive competitors.

In her life we know that she would occasionally send some kind of baked good over to a neighbor or relative and include a little poem, but in her life time she did not show anyone, not even her sister Lavinia this vast accumulation of poems, and there is absolutely no documentation that I have ever seen that Emily Dickinson ever showed even one person any of these fascicles. Emily Dickinson died in 1886, leaving all her earthly possessions-to her sister Lavinia. When Lavinia went through Ms. Dickinson's room she was astonished to discover these forty booklets stacked and stored together, as if they were waiting for someone to receive them. In addition to the fascicles Lavinia also found another four hundred poems arranged in an almost identical arraignment as these poems in the fascicles. This indicates that Emily Dickinson had some plan, some intention for how the poems would be read, which poems were thematically associated with other poems. Lavinia also found miscellaneous writings, worksheet drafts, many written on scraps of paper, on envelopes and the backs of old letters, etc. Clearly, Emily had written a lot of stuff that was not intended to be read by others, but the work in the fascicles was intended to be read, and read in an order and arrangement of her own choosing.

If you want to write, then you also want readers. You may be ignorant and unsure of how to get readers, you may be afraid of rejection, you could be too easily crushed by criticism, and you could be spineless or lazy, but unless you suffer from hypographia it is nearly a certainty that you want readers. Most of us are hungry and desperate for readers. If you write and want readers admit it. If you won't send out manuscripts now, then prepare the manuscripts, and put them in a safe place where they are sure to be discovered, ready to be read.

Originally published on for Tex Norman Friday, January 02, 200

Can You Hear Me Now?

Once upon a time, people seemed to care about privacy. The need for privacy seems to have faded as a need for most of us, and I have proof. Consider my own brief history of the telephone.

The Party Line

When I was a kid, back in the 1950s, our first phone was a party line. If you are too young to know about party lines, they worked like this. Several people shared the same phone line. This meant that if you wanted to make a call, and you picked up the phone, you would sometimes hear two strangers in the midst of a conversation. You would have to wait for the talkers to hang up, before the line would be clear for you to make your call. Everyone with a party line knew that it was possible for anyone else sharing that line to pick up the phone and listen in on your private conversation, which sort makes the word private a misnomer. No one I know liked the party line. There is also this urban legend that some guy had a heart attack, his wife went to call for help, and there were people on the party line. The frantic wife shouted her emergency and asked the talkers to clear the line, but they refused. According to the legend, the man with the heart attack died because of rude party line talkers. Did this actually happen? Hell, I don't know. What I do know is that the lack of convenience and privacy caused the phone using public to move to private lines as soon as possible.

Phone Booths

Next, consider the phone booth. At one time the phone booth was as common as cigarette butts in an ashtray. Phone booths were so prevalent that when Superman was created his alter ego, Clark Kent, could always find a phone booth near by, pop in, change into his tights, and emerge the man of steel. What struck me recently is how well made these phone booths were, and how expensive they must have been to make. I asked myself, "Why would the phone company have gone to the enormous expense of making thousands and thousands of phone booths?" The answer is that way back then, when I was a kid, having a private phone conversation was so important to everyone that the need of the masses mandated that the phone companies provide these tiny little rooms so we have a private conversation.

Cell Phones

The cell phone is indisputable proof that Americans no longer care about private conversations. Yesterday my wife was at the doctor's office, in a tiny little, over crowded waiting room, and some guy was talking on his cell phone.

"He was talking louder than he had to," said my wife, "and I think I know why. He was talking to someone else about Jesus and how strong his faith was, and I could just see what he was thinking. He was thinking, I can talk with this guy, and witness for the Lord to everyone in this waiting room.' It was two proselytes with one stone."

People are very protective of their cell phones, how it's used, where it's used and how much it costs. It has become a very personal issue for a whole lot of people in this country. Steve Largent

Cell phones are so important to so many people, but the conversations on those phones seem not to matter at all to too many people making calls. People on cell phones not only don't care if others hear their side of a conversation, they also don't care if their conversation is bothersome to the rest of us.

Blue Tooth

Everything that is bad about the cell phone is amplified by Blue Tooth. As I understand it, blue tooth technology allows you to just hang a phone over one ear, it can be covered by long hair, or a hoodie, and you can talk to others keeping your hands free. I suppose the device is intended to make cell phone calls safer for drivers, but it has had a far more off-putting impact on the rest of us.

Recently, I was in the restroom, doing what guys normally do in those places, and this big dude comes in, does his pee stance, aims, lets go with his flow, and then he says, "Hello."

If you are not a guy then you may not know, but there is a sort of unwritten rule that guys don't talk to other guys while standing at a urinal. I'm thinking of Senator Larry Craig, getting uncomfortable, but, because I live on automatic pilot I hear myself answer. "Uh, hi?"

"What'er ya doin'?" said the voice.

I figured this guy should know what I was doing.

"Uh, well, same ole, same ole," I say.

"Did you tell that skank that I wanted her to stop callin' me?"

That's when I notice the little clippy thing on his ear and realize that he is urinating and having a private conversation in the men's room (although the word private is a misnomer here.)

Apparently we love our own cell phones but we hate everyone else's. Joe Bob Briggs

People seem to so disregard their privacy that one almost wonders why anyone would be upset that Bush has people listening in on the private conversations of Americans, including the phone sex conversations between lovers and their soldier partners in Iraq .

Isn't privacy about keeping taboos in their place? Kate Millett

Teaching My Son To Ride a Bike by tex norman

It is an iconic act, this image, this memory,

of what one thinks is remembered,

this duty, this privilege of being a father.

Teaching a child to ride a bike is so

common, so shared, so symbolic an act

that it is used in television commercials as

an parental logo, as a representation of

parenting. There are millions of parenting

acts epitomized by this one, so if I fail at

this one thing, I fear I will have failed as

a dad. And I did fail. I tried, of course.

I remember running beside him, my hand

gripping the seat of his bike, my mind

ready to brace him, to add balance where

it was needed, or to catch him should he

begin to fall, and all the while I’m feeling

his fear. He knew what was expected.

He was supposed to trust me and I could

see he was trying to trust me, but trust is

earned and I was in default. I was in

paternal recession, a dad depression, my

stock had fallen for more than two

consecutive quarters. He couldn’t find his

balance while trying to balance my

presence in his life. I left him in an empty,

slopping parking lot where he used

the gravity of this earth sensing somehow

that speed equals distance divided by time,

and all the while he added balance his life.

My son learned balance by himself,

alone, all alone, all on his own.

Supply Side vs. Keynesian Economics

The problem with economics is, until now, there has been no real way to "test" an economic theory, but that may be changing now. I won't go back to the beginnings of economic theory, but I will start with the period prior to 1929 and move forward at beak-neck speed. Here is my reader's digest summery of economic theory:


In the industrial era of the United States there was a firm belief in capitalism and free enterprise would fix the economy. Taxes were a hindrance to people going into business, or growing their business. There was always a tension between supporting a government big enough to provide the needs of the country, without being so burdensome that the taxes stifled the climate of free enterprise. Recession was not viewed as a problem, but as a solution. Recession was the economy correcting itself. Leave the economy alone, and if houses get too expensive, then the recession will come in and RE-SET prices. This thinking is blamed for Hoover and the Republicans taking a hands-off approach to the Great Depression. The thinking was, when the economy crashed, was to leave it alone and it will get well all by itself.


An odd prolific thinker John Maynard Keynes wrote a book putting forth the idea that there are times when the economy gets so sick, so out of kilter that the usual practice of allowing recession to reset the economy just doesn't work. Keynes believed in supply and demand, but he also believed that if there is a sort of synergistic effect caused by poor choices and mass fear that is like being caught in whirling pool of rushing water and you just go round and round and can't get out without help. Keynes thought this was the time when the government should step in and use it's power to stimulate the economy.

Keynesian economics was being practiced on a limited basis by FDR and the Great Depression government, but before we could see if it really worked we had World War II. The Great War put people back to work, eliminated most unemployment, but in general the people were not really living well. By the end of the war the economy seemed to have reset itself, and we had good times starting in the 1950s.

Some Keynesian theory inspired people like Lyndon Johnson to declare war on poverty and there was a belief that a big spending government could just keep writing checks and stimulate the hell out of the economy and things would be great.

New recessions and frightening National Debt brought on a reaction that was decidedly anti-Keynesian.


The more recent and generally Republican approach to the economy was to marry three parts of pure capitalism with one part of diluted Keynesianism. You may recall how we all waited with baited breath while Allen Greenspan would announce if interest rates would be cut, stay, or rise. The theory was that the economy was a little like a steam engine and if it cooled off you heated it up with a turn of the dial (cutting interest rates), and if it got too hot (inflationary) all you had to do was ease back on the dial (stay or raise interest rates). Business would grow when the economy was running smoothly at a controlled pace.

When the middle class and working class and the poor complained we were told that there was a trickle down effect. Let Big Business do well and the money would trickle down to the peons. It felt more like were peed on than peons.


With this recent 2008 recession people are thinking back to Hoover era Republicans who did nothing and let a bad Recession become a Great Depression with deflated prices and (at one point) 25% unemployment. Tweaking the economy by turning the interest rate dial stopped working. We knew that when the interest rate was dropped to zero and the economy continued to tank.

We now have, for the first time in history, a chance to actually test Keynesian Economics. This makes a lot of people nervous. It should. We are in a horrible situation and people are actually considering using an untested economic theory to fix a very real problem.

On the other hand, all economic theories are untested, so anything we do is going to be an untested theoretic solution. No one knows what is right? Anything we do to address our current economic woes will be untested things.


The Republicans want to put the breaks on, and just fall back on cutting taxes, and hoping that lower taxes is going to inspire big business to just start working again.

Many Americans, like me, just don't buy it. Big business is for big business not for America and not for the people of America . If big business cared about the people of the United States they would invest in the US and not ship jobs off to exploited workers in countries with low taxes, poverty wages, and a total disregard for working conditions. Big business does not support trickle down economics. To big business the trickle is just a leak that hasn't been plugged yet.

Some Republicans have suggested that IF money is spent it should be sure to create jobs that are going to be sustained. They mean jobs in the private sector, not government jobs. This is a reasonable suggestion. The counter to this is that we are in an emergency. When you have a patient with a failing heart you don't stop and consider what you can do to repair the broken bones. Instead you ignore all the problems except the one problem that is essential. Unless we get the economy moving we are only going to get into a deeper and deeper economic hole and it is going to be harder and harder to get out of this hole.

One thing is sure, and that is that whatever money the government distributes to the states to spend, these Republican Legislators are not going to pass on the money. Their hands will be out just like everyone else. Many of the crazy schemes for stimulus money are coming from Republicans opposed to the stimulus. Consider the Mob Museum money being requested by Los Vegas.


While Keynesianism is untested, many feel it is something to try. The cutting taxes thing and deregulating business and hoping for the best has been tried for years and we see where we are now. The mood is, at least try this Keynesian thing.

According to the theory if the economy is down a trillion dollars then it needs a government stimulus injection, but that government stimulus does not have to be a trillion dollars. According to the theory a percentage of the needed boost is all you have to do, say 1% and once, say $600 to $800 billion is in the hands of the people they will go out, pay bills, buy cars, houses, do repairs, and everywhere they go to spend money those service providers and retailers will have more money to spend. $800 billion in the hands of regular people will become recycled dollars. Every dollar they spend with a retailer or service provider is going to be re-spent by the people who get those dollars, and the people getting that money will spend and with business getting better, more supplies will be needed more workers needed, and eventually the economic sputtering engine will take hold, get into a rhythm and start running smoothly.

Obama has not said that this is the solution. Obama promised to work on the problem. It is my opinion that it might be better to get this money into the hands of regular people and let them buy stuff and start small businesses and get homes, and NOT give it to big business. Big business could care less about this country or its citizens. This was never clearer than when we learned that at the same time these financial giants were on the brink of collapse and at the very time they were lobbying for and receiving billions of tax payer dollars from the government they were giving upper level management millions and millions of dollars in bonuses.