Thursday, August 17, 2017


© by Gerald So | 4:00 a.m.

I saw enough of Donald Trump not to vote for him last year. When he won the election, I allowed for the slim chance he'd rise to the occasion, but at every opportunity he hasn't measured up. In the aftermath of domestic terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia is the most egregious evidence that Trump cannot wholeheartedly break from his supporters even when they act despicably un-American.

These pressure situations reveal Trump as a man who cannot leave it at a proper, though TelePrompted message, but who lashes out when cornered under the mistaken impression he isn't wrong unless he admits he's wrong.

What to do when you can't look to the president to lead and inspire? Resist, yes, but saying that, I realize how long I've resisted. My family emigrated from the Philippines in the 1970s, when I was two months old. Both doctors, my father found work in a partnership of Jewish surgeons. My mother gave up work to raise my brother and me. My father had a sarcastic sense of humor, but was otherwise earnest and practical. My mother is just earnest and practical. Not to say they were perfect. No one is perfect, but where they came up short, I took it upon myself to go the rest of the way to attitudes I wanted to project. Much of my father's sarcasm occurs to me, for example, but I don't project it.

Growing up, I was teased and mistreated by some kids and classmates, sometimes even without words. My parents told me to ignore them, but I also decided for myself I wouldn't insult or treat them the way they did me. None of those kids turned around to become my friends, but, remaining open to all kinds of people, I found a small but varied, great group of friends in college. Just as I could tell the kids who only wanted to tease me, I could tell very quickly these people didn't judge me by color or other physical quirks. We're friends to this day.

I guess that's my way of saying, once again, America and its leaders don't always live up to its highest ideals. It's up to us, the people, to learn the right lessons from history and uphold those ideals in ourselves.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

From a Certain Point of View

© by Gerald So | 8:00 a.m.

I'm still working on a story originally submitted last December and rejected in May that I've been revising since June.

Consulting David Corbett's book The Art of Character and Lawrence Block's last collection of Writer's Digest columns The Liar's Companion, last week it occurred to me to change the viewpoint character, from an ex-cop to a woman who's reentered the ex-cop's life.

I have to show less of the ex-cop's deductive reasoning and emerging idea of the plot, but because the woman is involved in the plot itself, I get to show more of that, as well as her motives.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017


© by Gerald So | 6:30 a.m.

Thanks to publicist Erin Mitchell, I received an advance readers' copy of Reed Farrel Coleman's fourth Jesse Stone continuation novel, due out September 12. It throws Jesse, still grieving the death of his fiancee Diana Evans, into two cases: the search for a long-lost demo tape of reclusive recording artist Terry Jester, Boston's answer to Bob Dylan, and the seemingly unrelated death of an elderly Paradise resident during a robbery attempt.

Robert B. Parker's Jesse Stone novels, like many of his later works, were self-contained adventures. The only thing that clearly qualifies as a multi-book arc in Parker's work is Spenser's separation from and reunion with Susan Silverman in the mid-1980s. By contrast, Coleman's fourth continuation deliberately builds on characters and events from his first (Robert B. Parker's Blind Spot). Coleman invites readers to think of continuation not as imitation of the original author, but as true further exploration of the original's fascinating characters.

Yes, this particular case teams Jesse with Parker favorites Spenser and Vinnie Morris, but more compelling to me are Jesse's efforts to move on from his addictions and from his ex-wife Jenn, two staples of Parker's books that limited the series' scope on his watch.