Title - Kevin Michael Vance - writer/musician/purveyor of raw materials
Kevin Michael Vance
Writer - Portland, Oregon

When creating this spot for my web page I was trying to think of how I might best not come off as the biggest buffoon on the forehead of this great, big, planet. Then I realized something... I am human. For me this bespeaks volumes. It means that I am fallible, that I am not perfect. I have made mistakes, am making mistakes even as I write this, and will, inevitably, make mistakes in the future. When I wax romantically about myself and my role in this cosmic-shit tub we all dubiously call life I like to think of myself as the warrior- strong, loyal, full of discipline and honor. In reality, there are parts of me that follow those codes, but more to the point, I am a worker, and very proud of that. I finish what I start. I relish the journey. And I live... as well as any white heterosexual male could hope to live in this world of skewed ideals and twisted attitudes.

Suffice it to say, here within these "random thoughts" I will contradict myself, I will be wrong in some points and right in others, and I will make mistakes. However, as always, I hope in a small way that you, the reader, might garner a modicum of enjoyment.

Hell! I know I do.

January 12, 2024
The World As We Know It

Recently, I had discussions with two of my younger friends that I found to be rather discouraging, and more than a bit disheartening.  Both were women, and whether or not that has any bearing on what I’m about to say I will let you, the reader, decide.  Both discussions, which started out simply as idle chatter, soon escalated into emotionally charged denouncements of men, times past, and decades they deemed reprehensible.  

  Let me explain.

  The first discussion regarded, strangely enough, one of my favorite actors Kurt Russell.  The second was my pronouncement to a friend of mine, whom I love, that you cannot apply twenty-first century morals to the twentieth century.  The aforementioned statement is referred to as Presentism, which is defined as thus- uncritical adherence to present-day attitudes, especially the tendency to interpret past events in terms of modern values and concepts.  Of which I, personally, will not allow myself to be a part.  The impetus, basis, and or reasons for these discussions are irrelevant.  We were in fact engaged in “small-talk”.  But what is of great relevance is the underlying meaning and conviction I gleaned from the minor and then major debates that followed. 

  These two individuals (one in her mid to late twenties, the other in her mid to late thirties) believed that before the advent of the twenty-first century this country was morally bankrupt, and that the rights of anyone and everyone were trod upon daily, possibly even hourly, by, I might add, specifically, men.  By this reasoning, they believed that they could accurately judge, and thus, condemn any and all men.  And then, concurrently denounce and vilify those most miraculous times of my treasured youth- the eighties and the nineties.  Underneath this apparent seething disapproval and harsh criticism of a time and a place they knew absolutely nothing about- because, of course, they were in fact not yet born, or only toddlers- and a gender with which they were intimately unfamiliar, was such an overwhelming self-righteous sense of zealotry it actually made me sick to my stomach.  They believed that they were inherently better than I had been, and I can only assume that this erroneous certainty was based solely upon the fact that each of them gave me the strong feeling that they were a part of America’s first and only “progressive” movement.  Moreover, they accepted as truth the fact that they were inherently privy to more understanding and empathy, because they had climbed some hitherto unknown mountain of accelerated reform.  Or, more aptly, because they were born during the time of our most kind and benevolent overlord- the internet, and its’ demagogue of a step-child- social media.  Furthermore, I got the distinct impression they believed that I, “back in the day”, might as well have been a Homo neanderthalensis, scraping my knuckles across uneven ground, bashing females over the head with my club and dragging them, without their consent, into my dank cave.  And all of this was done during a time and a period in human history they ignorantly, inconsiderately, and conceitedly had decided, without any evidence to support their sweeping generalizations and unfounded claims, as the literal, figurative, and metaphorical... “dark ages”.

  Dear reader, I am not yet THAT old.  I can still remember what it felt like to be young.  I remember being a young boy playing in the mountains of Montana.  I can recall writing and drumming and trying to find myself and my identity as a teenager.  And then, as a young adult in my twenties I was playing music, still writing stories, actively working out, and searching and yearning for love that was desperately beyond my grasp.  I was married in my thirties and found the love of my life.  And after years of wedded bliss the person I trusted most (my mistake) set out on a mission to destroy me... emotionally and mentally.  Why even at the ripe age of forty I was still writing, still working out, still searching for the love and acceptance that had thus far eluded me for decades.

  What I was not, (anyone of my dear and trustworthy friends, most of whom I have known for decades, can attest to this) was an insensitive misogynistic abusive man.  If you recall, both these women’s claims were that all men, not just some, but ALL men, were insensitive misogynistic abusive men... “back in the day”. 

  I am here to tell you unequivocally and without a single shadow of a doubt that it was, in the past, the past that I lived, never thus.  None of my friends was the misogynistic racial brutes these two women painted them out to be.  When I explained that not a single man in my life was ever abusive or improper to women- not any of my male friends... not my brother, my father, my uncles, or my cousins- one of them retorted, rather insouciantly, “not that you know of.” 

  All I could do was roll my eyes in disgust.

  Who are they to judge my family, my friends, my past, and me with such audacity?

  Realistically, and if you will allow me to wax somewhat nostalgic: when I was a young man, I was most assuredly confused and actively searching for a better life.  I was hopeful for my future.  A hope I desperately struggle with as I painfully move through the trials and tribulations of being a 54-year-old white heterosexual male, none of which, by the way, I chose, in the twenty-first century.  I made mistakes, as we all do.  I moved on, and I hope I learned from said mistakes.  I attempted to treat people with the respect I demanded for myself.  I judged everyone, and still do, by one axiom- his or her actions.  For it is within our actions that we as human beings have control.  And I lived, as I still strive to live, with a sense of honor and forthrightness, still yearning to be the best man that I can be.

  I find it extremely disconcerting that this younger generation feels the need and the inalienable right to be so quick to judge, so quick to condemn, so callous in their rapacious enthusiasm to crucify people on the cross of what they deem as the ultimate expression of human excellence... “social justice”.  In fact, I find it abhorrent that they actively seek out the chance to vigorously deride and humiliate someone... anyone. 

  You are pathetic and weak if your existence revolves around the degradation and denigration of another human being, any human being, regardless of gender, religion, race, or sexual preference. 

  It would appear that this generation believes they are incapable of making mistakes, and believes that it is their “privilege”, nay their right, to ridicule and demean people; some of whom are older, wiser, and more experienced than they will ever be.

  Honestly, what sort of generation actively maintains that they are the chosen ones, the enlightened?  And that everything positive and productive and progressive that has occurred, ever, for all time, is due in part to the indelible changes they believe they are making in the world; while simultaneously disregarding every single bit of positive and productive progress that was ever made in the past.  

  In truth, I weep for this generation.  But not in the way you might think. 

  I weep for the fact that they cannot simply work a retail job and afford the most basic studio apartment.  I weep for the fact that they grew up with social media and that it now influences and infects every single aspect of their lives.  I weep for the fact that they no longer get to experience those things, which make life livable, joyful, and good- anticipation, patience, quiet, communication, a drug-free childhood, stillness, sex (many Gen Z’s are not having intimate connections with anything other than their phones).  I weep because they will never experience the joy and thrill of driving cross-country without the safety net of a cell phone.  I weep because they will never feel the brimming anticipation of waiting, not so patiently, for the next installment of Star Wars, or the next Buffy episode, or the next Harry Potter book.  Everything in their tumultuous lives is immediate, “on-demand”; every one of their needs has been placated and pandered to until they no longer have the capacity for critical thought, they no longer question, they are no longer inquisitive.  I weep because they gorge themselves on sound bites and five-second videos, until their brains are bloated and heavy with information that may or may not be true. 

  For these reasons, and for them, I weep.

  But do not come at me with this foolish certainty that everything before you and your present ideals was crass and cruel.  It was not.  It was different, wholly different.  And it was better in many ways, not all ways... but many.

  "You know nothing, Jon Snow."






[Add Comment] 0 Comments

September 27, 2023

I was driving home from work today, and a large gaggle of adolescents were meandering down the sidewalks of Fessenden waiting expectantly for the bus.  Every single teenager stared dumbly down at their stupid phone, tapping out messages on their inane touch-screens, neck bent, mouth open, almost drooling as they anxiously awaited some proferred prophetic piece of disinformation, some anonymous disingenuous ping, some graphically moronic thumbs up sign.  What have we come to?  What state of inhuman inanity is this?  And more importantly, where the hell are we going?  Where could all this inconvenient technology take us?

I have noticed that the majority of the younger people I work with have very little personality, very little charm.  They don't speak when spoken to.  They do not smile.  They appear meek, timid, and immature, like children lost in the wilderness of reality, too afraid to confront their fears, too afraid to gaze into the darkness.  When I was there age I lived my life by three tenets- strength, effort, and discipline.  I tried to live as an honorable man (still do), treating others as I would have them treat me.  These misguided adults do not know the first thing about communication or patience; let alone an ancient concept known as common decency.  

Jesus wept.

[Add Comment] 0 Comments

September 18, 2023
A Waning Life

Haven't done much of late.  I suppose it's due to a minor bout of semi-depression.  I say semi, because I'm not really "unhappy", however, I'm not "happy".  A friend of mine once told me that I am too comfortable being alone.  Maybe she's right.

The depression, I think, stems from the fact that I am an 54-years-old and I don't really like where I am in life.  For thirty years a decent job in retail afforded me the luxury of being able to pay my bills and rent out a one-bedroom apartment.  Within three years that ended.  Now I can't afford to live in South East Portland, because a studio apartment rents for 1300 dollars and up, and a one bedroom rents for 1500 dollas and up.  I am forced to live in Saint Johns, which I have slowly come to appreciate.  It's not that my situation is bad, it is not (I am fully aware that I have a roof over my head and can pay my bills, rent, and insurance) it's the overwhelming fact that I don't have a choice.  At the ripe age of 54; I have no choice.

For more than 30-years I have been struggling (and when I say struggling... I mean STRUGGLING) to turn my life-goal of being a published, and or, a paid writer into a career.  I can remember being young and living in Missoula, MT standing in the horror or fantasy aisle and yearning, with every fibre of my being, to see my name on the shelves.  And for 30-years I have had every door slammed in my face.  At the very least, ten years or so ago, agents and managers had the professional decency to send you a rejection letter, or email, or notice.  Now they claim they don't even have the time to drop an email saying, "Not for us, thank you", or simply "pass".  A no reply is a rejection, thereby alleviating them of any and all professional acumen that they had in the past.  And forget screenplays right now.  Hollywood is so twisted, so inane it appears the only thing they can produce are comic book movies, 80's reboots, or some Star Wars crap.  And if you even want to be considered for an Oscar you have to meet their D.E.I. rules!  The publishing industry may be just as bad (I have been actively querying now for a YA Sci-fi novel, I wrote, as well as an adult literary book) what with sensitivity readers who may or may not be experts in what... sensitivity?, but who, it would appear, have the power to veto or approve your book.


So... and this might just come off as some whining, pity-party, I am 54-years-old without a home, without a woman, and without a career.  It's hard not to look in the mirror's reflection and not wonder, am I a fool

The one thing that keeps my head up, that keeps me going is the love and support I receive from my amazing friends.  I have always said, "I don't have much, but in regards to my friends... I'm the richest man in the world."

[Add Comment] 0 Comments

January 12, 2023
Random indeed...

There is no sense in censorship.

[Add Comment] [View Comment]

:: View Thought Archive ::

Astarna Web Development - Professional Custom Web Application Programming