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It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, so I wanted to let everyone know what’s going on. I promise I’ll try to be more diligent in the near future.

This past summer I started my latest novel, One More Inning, about a minor league pitcher and catcher, one straight, one gay, and how their relationship over a single season in 1991 changes the course of their lives. My goal is a thousand words a day, and the first draft currently sits at sixty thousands words and counting.

I’ve also been active in sending out Afraid of the Dead, my noir detective novel, and have found some interest among agents. I look forward to keep you all appraised as to what is happening with that book.

My podcast, SCOOP, has been put on hold for the moment, but I will get back to it. Writing first draft is draining, and as soon as I have finished One More inning (the first draft, that is) it will be up and running again.

We are also embroiled in a federal election here in Canada. Like most artists, the polarization and hatred that has dominated 2019 is something I take very seriously. If you follow @stephenrburns on twitter you’ll get an idea why it matters so much and why it is occupying my time. I know a number of writers and artists who prefer to stay out of the political fray for fear of losing readers or followers. For me, however, that seems antithetical to being an artist.

I’m not a writer because I want to start a successful business, though I do hope to sell books. I’m an artist because we have traditionally been the voice of the voiceless. The mix of religion (and yes, I am religious) and politics has produced a putrid swamp and only the clarity provided by (what religious people might call) secular prophets and reasoned thinkers can help us to think clearly again.

The dismay in seeing people abuse activists like Great Thurnberg has reached levels I hadn’t thought possible. In my podcast, I have talked often how it has infected sports, as we’ve seen this past week with Daryl Morey, the GM of the Houston Rockets, sparking fury in China by sending out a tweet in favor of those protesting for democracy in Hong Kong.

So for as much as I respect any artist who wishes to stay out of debate, I don’t understand it. And so while that may make it more difficult for me as a producer of content, my conscience will not allow me to step aside and let things pass in the hopes I please everyone.

This isn’t about being right, which is something I have been accused of, nor is about being self-righteous. Mostly, it’s the thing you learn when you’re a kid. How should we treat people? What kind of heroes do I admire? And who do I want to be?

That last one hasn’t changed for me.

Kindness is a word we throw around, but kindness is not niceness. Kindness implies responsibility. To be kind is to not turn away when people are starving, or being kept in cages, or being segregated or attacked because they’re different. Kindness is not being polite in the grocery store, it’s a stance towards something greater.

So while I think we all need to work hard to keep open the lines communication with people outside our beliefs, we also have to recognize hatred and cruelty when we see it. My next podcast, The Importance of Talking, will dive into that. I hope to have it done in the next two weeks.

In the meantime, I will keep you appraised of what’s going on, and hope that we all continue the good fight.

-Stephen