A New Goal

by Shelt Garner

Occasionally, I will see an old post I wrote a few years back about this novel project and it all seems very quaint. It’s just taken me much, much longer than I could have ever possibly imagined to get where I am now. And, what’s worse, it just doesn’t seem as though my dream of having a big blow out in New York City for my 50th birthday is going to be practical from a money standpoint.

So, what I’m going to do is make my new goal having a second draft of this first novel finished by my birthday, or thereabouts. Then, at least, I will have something to have a sense of accomplishment about. It’s simple and doesn’t require any additional money to achieve.

Doing such a thing is going to require some focus on my part. I can’t keep screwing around and drifting towards my goal. I have to keep thinking about my deadline and goal so I can actually get what I want done.

Of course, I keep saying shit like this and then, lulz, I blow past my deadline. But you have to have hope.

The Central Issue of Late 2024, Early 2025

by Shelt Garner

So, the idea of having exclusively in person voting is something that apparently has enthralled Trumplandia-in-exile. Such fascist thinking combined with their Schedule F idea where they want to fire everyone in the government who doesn’t agree with them politically, may be the type of shit that pushes America to the breaking point.

And, really, it’s shit like that which will decide if we become an autocracy or have a civil war. Will Blue States be willing to bend a knee to fascism like the type described above, or will they not?

I just don’t know. At the moment, I would say, yes, they will bend a knee to fascism and we’ll just turn, eventually, into a political clone of Russia. But, who knows. We have two years yet. It could go either way.

A Story To Be Told

by Shelt Garner

I’m working on a six novel project that is greatly influenced by what happened to me in Seoul many moons ago. It’s not set in Asia, but I’m using a lot of my experiences from that period in my life to flesh out the universe I’ve come up with.

But, while I have the good / bad old days of ROKon Magazine on the brain at the moment, is there any argument for, say, New York Magazine or The New Yorker to do a history of what happened with the magazine?

Well, yes and no. Let’s list the “noes” first.

It was a long time ago
This is just not a timely subject anymore. It all happened so long ago — an everyone but me got closure — that it just doesn’t make any sense to do any sort of character study on what happened with the magazine. The whole thing would devolve into a very long therapy session with ME.

Who cares?
It was a long time ago. No one cares and it happened in Seoul.

How would you get anyone to talk?
You probably couldn’t get anyone to talk to you, even if you had the good name of a major publication like The New Yorker behind you.

The “Yeses.”

The story is crazy!
What happened with ROKon Magazine — and specifically between me and Annie Shapiro is totally bonkers. Insane. Hard to believe if you know the full story. It’s a real story for the history books of publishing.

Some very colorful characters
There are so many colorful characters that I’m using many of them (in a very Romanized manner) to popular six novels I’m working on at the moment.

Lots of twists and turns — even if the endgame is obvious
Even though it’s obvious that my version of ROKon Magazine was going to fucking fail, the over all arch of the story is very, very interesting. Lots of twists and turns.

Anyway, no one cares. I just needed to get that off my chest.

Paranoia Will Destroya

by Shelt Garner

The Internet works in mysterious ways. So, some time ago I wrote about how I was “famous” in Seoul. And, relative to the oblivion I live in now, I was pretty famous — at least within the microscopic expat community.

Annie Shapiro and me back in our glory days.

That’s all well and good, but for some reason I keep getting pings on that specific post. I have no idea what the search terms are that bring people to the post, but I’ve had about three people show up in my Webstats looking at that specific post for some reason.

If I wanted to be really paranoid, I would say someone got ahold of the fleshout outline of my novel and they’re now writing a cherry-picked screenplay from it. And because they want to know who they’re screwing over, they look me up and see that post.

While that’s very, very possible…it’s also a tell on my part. I think I’m STILL hurting from how Annie Shapiro screwed me over when she brought back ROKon Magazine without me. And that was a long, long time ago. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.

But, as I keep saying, you have to make decisions on what you do know, not on what you don’t know. So, I’m going to keep on keeping on until something absolutely happens that makes it clear I’m going to have to pivot to a different story.

Hopefully, I won’t get screwed over like I did with ROKon Magazine.

A Silly Late September Daydream

by Shelt Garner

A long, long time ago, I was somewhat “famous” in Seoul. And, during the course of this brief period in my life I managed to meet a few people famous “IRL,” namely Jennifer 8. Lee, then of The New York Times. I only bring this up because last night I had an amusing dream involving meeting my favorite supermodel, Emily Ratajkowski.

Now, let me be clear — I am never meeting Ms. Ratajkowski in real life. Or, to put it another way, I would have to literally win the lottery or sell a breakout first novel for me to get anywhere near to such an event happening.

But I like a good scenario and so, as such, I’ve found myself gaming out how I might meet Ms. Ratajkowski.

The first way is obvious — I sell my first novel, it’s a huge success and I find myself in her celebrity circles that way. While that’s at least possible — I hope — it’s extremely improbable. Or, if it did happen, I would be so old that it just wouldn’t be as much fun as it might otherwise be.

Meanwhile, there is a scenario that is just as unlikely, but a lot more fun to game out. This one involves me “somehow” falling into some money sooner rather than later and deciding to go back to Asia one last time before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

For this to work, Ms. Ratajkowski would have to be in Seoul for some reason AND she would have to be at, say, the W Hotel — a place I know a little bit about. I’ve been there a few times and it’s probably the most elite hotel this poor boy from Southside Virginia has ever been. Now, this is where things get murky.

I’m a really good talker — especially when intoxicated (I know, all drunks say that) — and if I was in Seoul and she was in Seoul at the W Hotel there and I could somehow wiggle my way to at least being near her on the dancefloor on night, then given that when it comes to a beautiful woman I have nerves of steel (usually) I think I could at least chat her up a little bit.

And that would be that. I could probably have about a two or three minute conversation with her before she realized I was drunk and poor and then her security team would step in and end the “moment” we might have. But I would have gotten what I wanted — just a brief moment of her time.

Anyway. Carry on. That’s never going to happen.

What Does ‘Woke’ Mean?

by Shelt Garner

Because the “woke cancel culture mob” has become such a massive abstract fear on the part of Traditionalist conservatives, and the idea of “wokeness” has been demagogued a great deal, it’s rather difficult to come up with a coherent definition of “to be woke.”

It really boils down to if you watch a lot of Fox News or not. If you watch a lot of Fox News, then your definition probably is something like:

Woke: the idea that all white, straight Christians — especially men — are evil and as such everyone should be Godless, gay and take their toddlers to drag shows.

Think of this as the “Red Pill” definition. This is the definition that is loosely used by Ben Shapiro and other leading conservatives.

Meanwhile, here’s the definition I would use.

Woke: a tendency to conspicuously note that America is browning and while acknowledging an increasing acceptance of LGBQ individuals in American society.

This is a far more accurate description of what “woke” means. But, of course, everyone wants easy, pat explanations to the complicated problems facing America. So, I don’t know what to tell you. Either you’re “Red Pilled” or you’re not.

The Greatest Story Never Told

by Shelt Garner

I used to think that great stories would somehow find a way to be told and now I don’t think that’s true anymore. Though, in fairness, I am using the greatest story I know as inspiration for a six novel series. So, I guess, in a sense it is being told — just not in the way I always thought it would be.

But the story I’m thinking about — what happened with me and Annie Shapiro in Seoul while we were working on our little expat rag ROKon Magazine — would be a great character study for someone at, say, The New Yorker to write about.

It was all so long ago that many of the main figures are dead or strone about by the four winds. But you could probably find enough people involved to tell what happened all those many moons ago. The passions associated with the magazine are long gone and you might get people who otherwise wouldn’t talk to you, to talk to you. (After they stopped laughing about how anyone would care about the short life of a zine in Seoul.)

So, I think I’m probably getting the best I’m going to get on this front. I’m using what I personally remember from those days to write a six novel series that ostensibly has nothing to do with what happened when I was in Asia, but actually is directly connected to it.

And any continued hope that the literal story of what happened with the magazine will ever be told says more about my lack of closure, long after everyone else has moved on, more than anything else.

American Politics Is Dead. (Now What?)

by Shelt Garner

It’s all over but the shouting when it comes to traditional American life. Either we slip into autocracy and cranks like me get shot in the back of the head by ICE, we have a civil war, or some sort of military junta is established.

That’s it. Those are our choices. There is no middle ground and — at least in my own family — politics is now dead. We never talk about politics because there’s a greater than zero chance that either someone is going to scream or someone is going to burst into tears.

So, this is it.

All that has to be sorted out is the details. Will MAGA Republicans take the House and how many times will they impeach Biden and Harris if they do? Will there be a Constitutional Convention? How many people will die in late 2024, early 2025 when we sort out which direct we’re ultimately going to go as a nation?

In other words, we are totally and completely fucked. There is no going back, no hope, not anything. All I can advise you is to get the fuck out of the country if you can. If you can’t — like me — then figure out what you believe in. The “woke” era is about to end violently with either a civil war, a military junta or ICE agents killing the types of people who would care about what their fucking pronouns are.

We’re completely fucking doomed. Totally. There is no middle ground. Pick a side or a side will be chosen for you. If you have any faith in our political institutions as this point, you’re a fool.

Why I’m Right

by Shelt Garner

The only way I’m wrong and we don’t either have a civil war, turn into an autocracy or have some sort of military junta is something I just can’t predict. Something really big that would either unite the country long enough to punt our problems down the road or might somehow allow a Democrat to overcome the corruption around the administration of elections so they can get into power peacefully.

Otherwise, we’re fucked.

And, at the moment, it definitely seems as though of the three options, autocracy is it. What I mean by “autocracy” in this context is such a significant change in our government in that wealthy liberals begin to flee the country in the millions — they vote with their feet. People stop voting. The Constitution gets changed — or DeSantis simply becomes Speaker of the House after his eight years as POTUS are done.

That definitely seems to be our fate at this point. And, as I keep saying, the wildcard is Trump. He is so bonkers and says “the quiet part out loud” that he unto himself, could start a civil war.

But I will be really, really shocked if that happens. We’re more likely to have a military junta than a civil war at this point. But, who knows. Anything is possible.

The Real Reason Why National Service Would Never Work Now

by Shelt Garner

I’ve long believe that National Service would fix most, if not all, of America’s modern problems. If every 18 year old no matter what gender was forced to interact with people outside of their comfort zone, then that would do wonders for keeping the country together.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that window of opportunity has past. If National Service had been enacted in, say, 1993, then, yes, by now, we would be in a lot better shape. We would all be on the same page culturally and we would all agree on what it meant to be “American.”

Yet, now, it’s too late.

The real reason for National Service is, of course, sort of light touch indoctrination. And that’s why trying it now wouldn’t work. What Blues would want to be the indoctrination would be totally different than want the Reds would want. And, ultimately, because Reds are ascendant, they would game the system such that they would cram all those young minds with visions of an autocratic Christian ethnostate.

So, it’s over. I don’t have any solutions for you. We either turn into an autocracy or we have a civil war– or maybe have a military junta. But, Something Big and Bad is going to happen between now and spring 2025.

It’s only a matter of what it is.