Monday, May 12, 2008

Refuse to be Afraid: The book

This will be the first Richardson & Bluhm book from the 21st century. The Imaginary Bomb and The Adventures of Myke Phoenix are things we found in the attic and said, "Why didn't these get into print in the 1990s when they were written?" But Refuse to be Afraid is where I've been going since I first started these little scribblings 33 months ago, and I hope to have it in your hands on or about the third (!) anniversary of my first, tentative post.

How do you like the cover? Too stark? Too bland? Right colors? Horrendous colors? Your constructive criticism is more than welcome.

It took only a few weeks after I launched Montag for the predominant theme to develop, and I'm building longer pieces around the "unfinished essays and spontaneous eruptions" of this little corner of the Web. (And thanks for the phrase, Wally!) A couple of excerpts from the opening chapter:
As this book heads to press, the United States is waste-deep in a presidential campaign. As in all other political campaigns, it seems, the issues are our fears. One candidate plays on our fear of being unable to make ends meet, of living from paycheck to paycheck, and the terror of what might happen if the paychecks stop coming, of what might happen to our loved ones if anything were to happen to us. Another candidate plays on our fear of those terrorists, of the people with difference faces than ours who want to destroy our way of life. Both candidates promise that if we will turn ourselves over to them, we will be safe and secure.

There’s really only one place where you’re totally secure: A jail cell. Surrounded by four walls with barred doors and windows, you can’t be hurt. (We’ll set aside your fear of earthquakes for the moment.) Government leaders who promise you safety from outside influences can only deliver by caging you – by stripping your liberty away, either one freedom at a time or all at once.

Benjamin Franklin was right, presuming he really said these words attributed to him: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” ...

The book is called Refuse to be Afraid, but you’re not human if you’re not afraid from time to time. What I hope to encourage you to do is to keep your fear at bay. Don’t let it control your thoughts and actions. I’ve been writing about Big Fears, the fears that lead to airport checkpoints and surveillance cameras and sometimes even to wars, but little fears make us miserable, too. We don’t speak out for something we believe in, because we’re afraid of the repercussions. We don’t ask that attractive person for a date, because we’re afraid of being turned down. We don’t start writing the Great American Novel or quit our jobs and start that business we really want to start – because we’re afraid it won’t work out. Worse, we’re afraid of the changes success will bring in our lives.

When I say, “Refuse to be afraid,” I’m not telling you to deny that anxious little feeling or that paralyzing terror. The fear is real. I’m just suggesting that the thing that terrifies you can’t possibly be as awful as the paralysis. And yielding control of your life, i.e., your freedom, is likely to produce scarier results than an environment where everyone is free.
For now, tidbits like these are only available by browsing this blog. A good place to start is down there on the right, with the list I've immodestly labeled "B.W.'s Greatest Hits." Come summer, you can sit in the hammock or at the picnic table and enjoy this stuff out in the sun. R&B doesn't yet have the capability for advance orders, but once we figure out how to get that done, you know we will.

While you're waiting, nothing is stopping you from enjoying the little bits of light reading we've produced for you thus far. Click here and you're on your way.

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Anonymous sunni said...

Ooooooh! I want one!

You can take that as a, "Yes, I like the color scheme," too ... but then I'm part Swedish, so perhaps my endorsement doesn't count for much.

Oh, and this caught my eye:

As this book heads to press, the United States is waste-deep in a presidential campaign.

Methinkest thou means "waist" ... but that homonymal slip is amusing and pretty damn appropriate.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Warren Bluhm said...

Holy moley, looks like his editor needs an editor! Or maybe he'll plead "I meant that." Take it from me, he didn't. Good catch!

6:09 PM  
Anonymous Nettie said...

I'll be ordering one once they're available. I also need to get over to Lulu and order Myke Phoenix. I'm confident Max will enjoy it as much as he did The Imaginary Bomb.

9:48 PM  

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