Creative Writing (Or Lack Thereof)

One thing that I find frustrating is that I should have started creative writing years ago. I mean how hard can it be? All you really have to have is a piece of paper, something to write with and a smidgen of creativity. You don’t even have to be creative. Books are written about fact as well as fiction.

It’s not like I don’t have good ideas. I’ve actually had some pretty great ones. I’ve just always had a problem with procrastination. Another problem I have is self-doubt. Would anybody be interested in reading my ideas? That’s where the self-doubt kicks in. It snowballs. Better yet, it forms a tumbleweed. All of my negative reactions I have about my work get tangled up into one big, ugly, unsightly ball. You can make a snowman out of a snowball, but a tumbleweed is just a ball of dead, useless weeds. A big ball of negativity.

Instead of setting my first goals of writing at a 50,000 word novel, I’m going to start small with some short stories. For the past year or two I’ve gotten in the habit of recording any creative ideas I’ve had (mainly names) with my Notes app on my iPhone. So I do have some starting points.

Tourists to Be Banned from Dutch Cannabis Coffee Shops.

Big news came out of the Netherlands this past Monday that effective January1, 2012, only Dutch, German and Belgian citizens will be allowed into it’s fabled pot-smoking coffee shops. Tourists will not be allowed into the establishments because only card-carrying citizens will be accepted. It is expected that the entire country will be policed in this way by 2013, including it’s major dope-smoking capital, Amsterdam.

Their government has passed this bill because they want to crackdown on dangers that their Dutch citizens may encounter. They cite reasons such as unruly tourists, traffic congestion and general crime in the area as the tipping point in this debate. Under the new laws, customers will have to be over the age of 18, they will have to be naturalized citizens and have to be in possession of a government issued ID that proves they’re eligible for entry.

I imagine there are a lot of would-be tourists that are up in arms about this development. Amsterdam is a recreational drug-users dream destination and this isn’t going to sit well. But I have a few concerns about this too. In an age when our economies crash daily, how exactly is this going to affect the Netherlands? According to the Daily Telegraph the move will cost the city about US$41 million (€30 million) a year in revenue, the equivalent loss of 345 full-time jobs. So it looks set to hit the local economies quite hard.

Machteld Ligtvoet, a spokeswoman from the Amsterdam tourism board, told CNN in a recent interview: “The Dutch government has decided upon this for the whole of the Netherlands. Amsterdam doesn’t want it.

“Coffee shops are not actively promoted by our organization and are not used in order to attract tourists. However, the mere idea that one can buy and use soft drugs here is an attractive aspect of Amsterdam and its famous spirit of freedom.”

So is this move set to adversely affect the country? I believe so. And it couldn’t come at a worse time. With all the financial woes that fill our lives and businesses today, I believe it’s going to really hurt Amsterdam. The practice of selling pot is the one trump card that it held over other cities. But now they’re going to take a voluntary hit in the wallet with this new initiative. I’m really not sure what it’s government is thinking. I’d liken it to Las Vegas banning gambling.

And yes, I have partaken of the wares of the Dutch coffee shops. I was a college art student. Go figure, eh?

Bert & Ernie: No Gay Wedding

Back in August, 2011, a Facebook petition came together asking to have Bert & Ernie, two of Sesame Street’s most recognizable characters, enter into a same-sex marriage. The petition picked up a lot of steam and before all was said and done people in their thousands had signed their names. But the makers of Sesame Street read the petition and turned it down, choosing not to go in the same-sex union direction.

So why did this issue ever come about? The LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) groups believed that a union between the two males Muppets would save the futures of a lot of LGBT children. Homosexual and transgendered kids have a tough life growing up and there is a high suicide rate among teens that are either the victims of bullying or harbour guilt about their sexuality.

So what was the theory about how  a same-sex marriage between the two Muppets could make a difference? The theory was that by having a couple of children’s TV characters getting married on a show would raise generation of kids that would be more tolerant to people living a LGBT lifestyle. Sort of a “teach kids tolerance while their minds are most impressionable” deal. Sesame Street is extremely clever about teaching children their ABCs through repetition. They could use this same power of repetition to embed knowledge of the LGBT lifestyle into the brains of children. The petitioners believe if the idea of a same-sex relationship acceptable on Sesame Street, kids watching it will grow up believing it’s acceptable.

This is where I think the idea was flawed. Now the idea, at it’s heart, is not a bad idea. Saving a young person from bullying and/or suicide is a good thing. A very noble cause. But I don’t think having the backdrop of Sesame Street is ideal for pro-LGBT propaganda. I actually think it would be quite exploitative to use Sesame Street to teach this subject to our tots. Young viewers watch to learn their ABCs. True, there are moral messages in there, but bringing the issue of same-sex marriage to them is a little heavy in my opinion. Since when has Sesame Street ever been about sexuality? The Children’s Television Workshop (CTW) has never explained why men are attracted to women and vice versa. It’s just kind of there. Why, all of a sudden, do they have to explain why a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman? It’s just not necessary. Let kids be kids. Let them watch Sesame Street and learn from and enjoy it as we did as kids. Let’s not complicate it with issues of a sexual variety.