We Are All STILL Very Naive

by Shelt Garner

I believe 2023 is going to suck politically. It’s going to suck so bad that we’re going to look back upon 2022 like we now do the year 2017. In 2017, we were all so wrapped up in the legacy of post-Watergate Washington scandals that we assumed Mueller would fix all our Trumplandia problems and we could have some sort of magical Obama third term.

In other words — I believe Biden will probably be impeached a few times. I believe that any accountability that Trump is held to will only make him stronger. I believe that, in the end, Trump is either going to turn us into a Russian-style autocracy (at least) or we’re going to have a civil war that starts between Election Day 2024 and Certification Day 2025.

I believe all this because the macro trends are just not in our favor. We’re an empire in decline and the tectonic forces at work are probably going to force Blues to make an existential choice of bending a knee to autocracy or leaving the Union.

I don’t really want a National Divorce, but on an abstract basis, it definitely does make a lot of sense. I say this as someone who loves America and am quite content to keep the country together like it is, thank you very much. But if the choice is between the Fourth Reich and Blue States attempting to leave the Union, well, then, things start to get a bit more complicated, now don’t they.

It just seems to me that we’re headed towards a very, very, very dark future, it’s just the specifics haven’t been worked out yet. I’m of the opinion that at the moment we’re probably going to turn into the Fourth Reich, America will leave NATO and WW3 will happen as a result. In the end, MAGA will be directly responsible for just as many people as those that died in WW2.

Good luck!

Now To Do Some Drinking, Er, Writing

by Shelt Garner

So, I’ve reached a huge milestone in my efforts to write the first draft of my first novel — I have finished the scene summaries of all the scenes leading up to the end of the novel.

My writing inspiration going into wrapping up the first draft of my first novel.

So, really, pretty much all I have to do is just sit down, get drunk and do my best Philip K. Dick impression — without the crank, of course. If all goes according to plan, within a week or so, I will have a finished first draft. Then, as is the rule of thumb about such things, I will give myself about a month to rest, think about other things and hopefully do a lot — a lot — of reading.

Of course, I say that all the time and then all I do is continue to exactly what I’ve been doing is, which only reading my own content as I produce it.

And there is the issue of any number of things could throw a curve ball at me that might delay — or change the context — of things going forward. I’m having a soreness around a tooth and my fear is I’m going to have a severe toothache of some sort to the point that I won’t be able to write until I get the tooth fixed.

As such, I feel compelled to write as much as possible as quickly as possible. I have a bottle of whiskey to drink and a little extra time…so on paper I should be able to finish this first draft sooner rather than later.

But, again, anything could go wrong. I have to just write as much as possible to see if I can get this first novel done before all hell breaks loose one way or another.

Sometimes, You Have To Think of Your Mental Health

by Shelt Garner

I noticed in my Webstats that someone — probably coming from a link posted in a Slack — was out of the blue poking around this Website. The seemed particularly interested in what I had to say about the Twitter clone Post. It appeared as though they wanted to comment on the post didn’t like the requirements for doing it so they decided not to.

I have a very active imagination, so I of course thought a mixture of the absolute worst and the absolute best.

On one hand, I assume anyone who wants to comment on something I write here is completely insane and if they had the opportunity to comment without giving me an email address they would just tell me how crazy I was and how I should kill myself. Or something along those lines.

Of course, on the OTHER hand, maybe they liked what I had to say and wanted to offer me the chance to write — for pay! — on their site. Or something like that. But that doesn’t hold much water — if they were all that interested in talking me about a gig like that, there are plenty of other ways to track me down as opposed to commenting on a blog post. And why wouldn’t they want to give me their email address?

So, we come back to the point of why it’s so difficult to comment on this blog — I generally assume everyone online is fucking spiteful and hateful and, given the opportunity, would do everything in their power to make me hate myself and the world.

So, you CAN comment here, but you have to give me an email so I can respond to your comment about how I should walk into the sea and never be seen again. This is the same reasoning why I generally turn comments off on my Tik-Toks –some of the most fucked up things I’ve ever read were in a Tik-Tok comment. So, in that respect, Tik-Tok comments and Periscope comments are a lot a like.

People are just hateful online. They generally think the absolute worst filth possible to say in an effort to goad you into feeling back or responding.

Anyway, I make no apologies for making it difficult to comment on this blog.

Once I Finish The First Draft, Things Should Move Much Faster

by Shelt Garner

The biggest thing that has been slowing me down with this first book is, well, development. I have a number of different levels of development and as I plow through the first draft go through those different stages, everything changes. A great deal.

Sometimes, things change so much that the whole thing collapses and I don’t believe in what I’m writing anymore and I have to start all over again. That hasn’t happened this go round — so far — so I’m feeling confident that once I finish this first draft I can effectively end development and just use a montified version of the first draft’s outline.

If I can do that, then things really will go faster.

There might be some delay because I’m going to have flesh out each of the scenes again after I read the finished first draft, but other than that, the actual writing of the second draft should go really, really fast. I will be very much on track to finish a Beta Draft around April – May. Then, I can turn around and go through the Beta Reader process with that daft.

Then, hopefully, I will be ready to query a third-ish draft as part of the fall querying season. Then, well, I’m going to need prayers and good luck.

My Only Complaint About ‘Post’

by Shelt Garner

I’m of an age where I’m generally indifferent about a lot of things that used to bother me — I just don’t have time for that shit, as they say. So, when I got invite to the new Twitter clone “Post” I was mildly interested to see what it was like.

And, after having used it a few days, I can honestly say I really like it. It’s spare, but has a lot of potential and is small enough that it still has that new social media platform smell to it. There are some quirks, but nothing so difficult as to make it unusable.

Once it gets some of the basic features that Twitter has, I could definitely see myself using it so much that I don’t really use Twitter that much.


The problem with Post is not the service, but the sense one gets using it that a lot of its initial users see it as a liberal-progressive “safe space.” That is not bad unto itself, but when the service is just a bunch of people agreeing with each other it can become boring.

But there are two reasons to think I’m jumping the gun a little bit and things aren’t going to be as bad as you might think.

One is, Twitter is already so siloed when it comes to political discourse, it’s not like there’s all that much real debate going on. In fact, in my experience, in recent days, the only actual debate between people who disagree comes from when one side or the other notices something from the other side and retweets it into their echo chamber.

Otherwise, the two sides don’t talk to each other about politics on Twitter.

Meanwhile, another thing that Post has in its favor when it comes to not being boring is the anti-MAGA liberal-progressive alliance is so diverse and fractious that people who agree in general about the dangers of MAGA that there is still a lot of room for debate.

I suppose what really bothers me is not so much that Post is going to be boring as it is the possibility that it’s going to be populated with a bunch of smug people who think they have it all figured out and, as such, don’t build up the intellectual antibodies associated with robust debate.

Such smugness is really fucking annoying, regardless of your political leanings. But I fear what’s really going on is if Post becomes popular then it’s yet another common element of society that has been destroyed and segmented into Red and Blue.

If that’s not a “Not great, Bob,” trend, I don’t know what is.

Are We Really Doing This? Are We Really Going to Just Slouch Our Way Into A Fourth Reich?

by Shelt Garner

The fact that antisemitism is going mainstream within MAGA ranks in broad daylight is alarming to say the least. The same dynamic that allowed Trump to come perilously close to destroying American democracy is now at play with the rise of antisemitic MAGA.

Everyone with the actual power to end it is too big a coward to do anything about it. Or they’re silent and hope it all just goes away. But barring something I can’t predict, it’s not going away. I’m not Jewish, but just like how Roe v. Wade was a firebreak for reproductive rights, the taboo against accepting antisemitism into the mainstream without consequences is firebreak against kooks like me getting caught up in the same dragnet that would get Jewish people if things really got that bad.

As such, I have an existential self-interest in making sure antisemitism stays in the shadows where it belongs.

But it definitely seems like we may have crossed the Rubicon. Things have suddenly begun to get dark and growing darker. All of this is happening in the very curious context of Trump having a Jewish daughter and children. How ding-dong squares that particular circle is something I struggle with a lot.

And I would go so far as to say keep an eye on the status of Javanka. If MAGA turns on them in any big way, oh boy. Things really are dark. What is happening in American politics at the moment is very, very surreal.

But I suppose the case could be made that form follows function. If you country has a fascism problem, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have a antisemitism problem, too.

And, like I said, this is all happening in the context of no one being willing to do anything about it because of one person — Donald Trump.

‘Shut Up And Write’

by Shelt Garner

Repeatedly during this years-long process of developing and writing these planned six novels, I’ve felt like just following everyone’s advice. You know the advice where people tell you to just “shut up and write.”

I really want to do that. I really do. And, yet, I’m kind of isolated at the moment and don’t have a wife or a girlfriend to talk to about this project so, here I am. I’m such an extrovert that whatever is on my mind, I’m going to talk about or write about — in the extreme.

So, even if I vow to myself to just “shut up and write” inevitably, I’m going to get drunk and say screw it, I’m going to write a 1,000 word blog post about the state of the six novel project. I really vacillate wildly within my mind about all of this. I suppose it boils down to you take yourself wherever you go and it’s not like I would be happy if I wasn’t producing meta-text about working on a novel. That’s who I am.

And, really, as best I can tell, it’s a very no harm no foul type of situation. As long as I continue move forward with the novels, I don’t see any problem with writing and talking a lot about what I’m doing. I know A LOT of people find it all very annoying because they find the whole subject narcissistic and pointless if there’s nothing to read.

After way too much conspicuous talking and writing about writing a novel, things are finally beginning to lurch forward. I should wrap up a solid first draft in a few weeks and be on course to going through the Beta Reader process around April or May 2023.

In other words, things are starting to get exciting.

Young Expat In Love

by Shelt Garner

I was really….unique…in late 2006 – early 2007 when I was living in Seoul as an expat. I was a DJ at the best expat bar in the city while at the same time struggling to keep ROKon Magazine afloat. I lost both of these things around my birthday in February 2007. Despite this, the memory of what was going on at that point in my life is seared my mind to the point that it’s pretty much at the forefront of my mind constantly even to this day.

The late Annie Shapiro and me back when I was cute.

Given this situation, I have really, really dug deep into what happened to me in Seoul for this six novel project I’m working on. In fact, I would go so far as to say there are maybe six or seven people in the world who, if they should ever read these novels, will be able to pick out exactly what the inspiration from Seoul I’m using to flesh out it’s universe.

In my mind, at least, there is a direct one-to-one between elements in this six novel project at what I remember of my life in Seoul. It all reminds me of how in “Young Shakespeare in Love” you get to see the real world inspiration for some of the major elements of The Bard’s works.

My time in Seoul was some of the most creative of my entire life. It all came at a price, of course — it all kind of drove me bonkers. The pressure of effectively rather abruptly, within the context of the microscopic Seoul expat community being a public figure really, really, got to me. And all of it was happening in the context of how being an expat in South Korea can really do a number on your mental health just in general.

I love South Korea and its culture, but living there long term is like having a really intense relationship with a really hot, but very eccentric girlfriend. You get to have all this fun with her, but all that fun comes at a pretty significant cost.

Anyway, there is probably a 50 / 50 chance that I will return to South Korea for a little visit before I drop dead. My current goal is I’d like to return around the 20th anniversary of me getting there the first time around in the summer of 2004. It’s not looking like that is going to happen at the moment — I’m just a broke ass writer — but A LOT can happen between now and then.

What Is It This Time

by Shelt Garner

I often say that if you live in South Korea long enough as an expat it’s something of a black hole. There is an Event Horizon and you never really leave, even if physically you’re on the other side of the globe.

It was a long time ago and nobody cares anymore. (I hope.)

So, when I see in my Webstats that someone from Seoul obviously came looking for me online and found this Website, all I can think is, “What is it this time.” Add to this that someone I know from my time in South Korea who is still there looked at my LinkedIn profile leads me to believe there might be a little bit of chatter about me in Seoul currently.

I was in South Korea — and Seoul specifically — a long, long time ago. But I will admit that I had a very -VERY — memorable time there. I was doing a lot of things for a short amount of time. I was both a magazine publisher and a DJ. In fact, there was moment in time in late 2006 when I was probably one of the most famous expats in Seoul. I was a bit overexposed.

But that was all so long ago it makes me wonder what it possibly be happening NOW that would make anyone talk about me. It’s a very jarring situation where I’m pretty isolated at the moment and all I do is just work on my six novel project and aggressively daydream. Though given what’s going on with the novel and how much I draw upon my personal history to tell the story, I do still think a whole lot about my time in Seoul.

A cornerstone of the plot of the novel is I’m re-creating what was going on in my life in 2006 — 2007 only in a completely different context. Anyway, whatever is causing people in Seoul to be interested in me now can only be so bad. I hope, at least.

Anti-Anti-MAGA Jewish Conservatives Face An Existential Political Choice As MAGA Transitions To American Nazism

by Shelt Garner

This is a very delicate thing to broach, but as antisemitism goes mainstream within MAGA ranks, we need to start to talk about the political fate of Jewish conservatives. I’m not Jewish — even though growing up I always wanted to be Jewish or black — but I am reading up on the rise of Nazism in Germany and the continued reluctance of a lot of American Jewish conservatives to join the broad anti-MAGA democratic coalition is alarming.

It would greatly help the cause of American democracy if conservative American Jewish people who aren’t currently #NeverTrumpers would stop supporting Trump and MAGA because, well, the movement is growing more and more hostile to Jewish people.

Why this “come to Jesus” (wink) moment hasn’t happened yet is very curious. But I think it’s definitely something to look out for. Whenever it happens, it’s probably going to happen a lot later than it should and could be very nasty and jarring.

The way it might ultimately happen will be not that Jewish conservatives leave MAGA, but, rather, they will be purged from even being anti-anti-MAGA. There may come a tipping point when MAGA is actively going out of its way to be hostile to even otherwise extremely sympathetic Jewish conservatives.

But, let me be clear — I can’t predict the future. Maybe the alarming rise of antisemitism in MAGA will abait and we will drift towards an autocracy more like Turkey or Hungary than Nazi Germany.

I’m still very alarmed, though. No good will come of this.