• Mark Meier

I’ve been blogging for more than a week now, and perhaps it’s time to tell you a bit about myself. If you don’t care, I don’t care that you don’t care. My name is Mark Meier, and I write using that name as well as the pen name Marc Meiner. That pen name is reserved for my Ebony Sea stories. I’ve joked I don’t want any confusion about thinking they’re getting science fiction and mistakenly buy a book of poetry – ha-ah – because I’m poetry deaf. Like tone deaf or color blind, but with poetry. Then what happens? I wrote some poetry. More on that some other time. I work in local radio, producing a show called LaCrosse Talk on WIZM (1410-AM, 92.3-FM). My background is such a mish-mash of stuff, it’s impossible to categorize. I’ll do my best to sum it up. I grew up during the space race, and wanted to be an astronaut. Corrective lenses precluded that, though now it’s not such a problem, from what I hear. I grew up on a farm, and knew I hated “work.” Make that labor. Dad switched to building houses, and that involved too much . . . labor. Wasn’t a big fan. High school – slacker. I have three sisters, two of them older than me, and one graduated as valedictorian, the other salutatorian. Mark? Solid C+/B-. I contend I was bored, but I have an argument against that – some other time. My favorite class in high school was computer programming. I took the one (only) class and loved it. BEGGED for another, not no avail. Independent study? The teacher said, “I can’t find enough information to do that.” Another slacker? Even in the 1980s there was plenty available. In college I declared Computer Science as my major. Three semesters in I knew I didn’t have the drive to excel as a programmer. I coasted, coasted, and coasted some more. About five years into my college career, my girlfriend tried to kill herself in my dorm room. I’d had enough. I found out I had an academic advisor (AFTER FIVE YEARS? WHY WASN’T I TOLD BEFORE?) She told me the quickest way to get a degree was to take “these” three class and I’d graduate with a B.S. in Philosophy. (I love putting it that way.) I ended up flipping burgers. No surprise there. This is getting long, so I’ll finish tomorrow.

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  • Mark Meier


  • Mark Meier

I’d planned a rant for today. I wrote it out – well-thought-out, I might add. Rereading it, as I do with every post, I deleted it. My rant came across as petty and childish. Which brings up something I wish people would learn: quit whining. Nothing good is accomplished by ceaseless complaining. Some people are entertained for a bit, but is that really how you want to come across? In my case, the answer is a resounding NO! There’s a movie star (I won’t mention the name) who has becoming increasingly . . . nutty. That person hasn’t been in many movies lately, but has done some very popular work in the past. No doubt you’ve seen some of the movies – I have, and enjoyed them. But this person has been irrelevant lately, and I think that’s the source of the nuttiness. Attention-seeking, IMO. The same could be said of so many of the folks who become popular on social media. “Look at me, I ate a Tide Pod!” You know the type. They see someone who is famous for being famous, and they think, “Why not me?” Why indeed. They’re looking for their fifteen minutes of fame, and don’t care that they’ll be relegated to the ash heap of history and spend the rest of their days wondering what happened to their faux fame. Real acclaim comes slow, with consistent effort. A good way to sum up that idea is this: The overnight success was decades in the making. Maybe this is better: Good luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Looking at it another way, the person who runs into the burning building and saves thirty orphans from being burned alive trained with the entire fire department for years. There’s schooling before a firefighter can even be called “firefighter.” They’re a hero. Same with that cop who rescued the . . . You get the idea. Writing is the same way. Learn the language. Learn how words fit together. Learn how to make words “sing” to a reader, grabbing them by the heart and twisting until they weep with tears of joy. Submit that first manuscript, suffer the repeated rejections, and finally get a story published. Languish in anonymity, unnoticed by the world at large. One day, a publisher will say, “Hey, that ‘Hunt for Red October’ is pretty good. I’ll publish that.” But did you notice that wasn’t his first book? Tucked away in the middle of that story was the mention of a Kremlin spy with the code name of Cardinal. Huh. Cardinal of the Kremlin ring a bell? Did you also notice the Brits call Jack Ryan “Sir Jack?” That event was detailed in a different book. So there were at least two book written and consistently rejected before Red October was accepted. It was made into a movie, if you haven’t noticed. And Tom Clancy was made an overnight success. He was prepared as a writer, he didn’t give up, and when the moment was right, he was there. Waiting. Not complaining.

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