Random and Unrelated Thoughts

  • Okay, where did y’all come from? You know who you are. You’re one of the one hundred people who stopped by this blog in the last 24 hours. This is a niche blog: that means it’s an acquired taste like anchovies and Finnegans Wake. So, when a lot of people show up, my first thought is: “What the hell happened?” Frankly, I think the FBI, CIA, and NSA have something to do with it. If so, I’ll never tell where the secret files are hidden. If not, then thanks for reading.
  • I saw another ad on a writers’ newsletter this morning that basically said, “Dear writer, You’ve poured your heart and soul into writing a novel, shouldn’t you take the next step and hire a professional editor?” Sure, this could help. The thing is, if a BIG NEW YORK PUBLISHER has bought the MS, they’ll edit it. If not, your editing will cost more than my self-published book can earn. How do I make up the difference?
  • If you have a job and take a vacation to go on the TV show “Survivor,” what are odds that job will still be there if female contestants accuse you on the air of being too touchy-feely, you get warned, and then later you’re removed from the program for an off-camera incident that involved (apparently) a “Survivor” staff member? I’m not sure why I still watch this show because it’s rather like a soap opera and, like other reality shows, isn’t as real as it appears.
  • Regardless of one’s political beliefs, it’s really hard to watch the online coverage of the impeachment hearings without a heavy dose of heroin. I suppose it’s possible that those participating have an opioid IV hooked up to themselves to make sure they get through it all without going nuts.
  • Near the end of the year, every nonprofit that I’ve ever cared about sends me an e-mail that says. “Hey Malcolm, an anonymous donor has agreed to triple match every dollar you give before the deadline of December 18th. I want to ask, “Why is there a deadline?” and “Where the hell am I suppose to get the money to donate $25 to several dozen charities?” I usually send each charity a copy of one of my books so they can sell it (ten years down the road) for $1000000 on eBay.
  • The two books on my Christmas list are Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea and Dora Goss’ The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl.  I hope Santa has me on the “nice list.”
  • We’re having beef stew for supper tonight. I dislike Port wine, but it really works well in the stew.
  • I have a feeling that once I upload this post, I won’t have a hundred visitors in the next 24 hours.


Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of the magical realism novel “Conjure Woman’s Cat,” available in audiobook, e-book, paperback, and hardcover editions.


Survivor: Island of the Idols

This is Survivor’s 39th season with two seasons per calendar year. I’ve watched every season except for the first two or three. My wife watched those and then somehow I got lured into watching the program.

Like other reality shows, we know that what we see on the screen isn’t exactly what happened. The same is true for shows like “Chopped” and “House Hunters.”

Even though we’re not watching reality, we’re still watching players acting and reacting in a fishbowl. Watching this is an interesting experience for a writer whose stock in trade is people watching.

One interesting facet of the show is the contestants’ views of truth vs. lying. If you have no deception in your game at all, you probably won’t last. Nonetheless, some players maintain they’ve never lied to anyone during the game in spite of the fact that viewers see that those players’ games haven’t been totally pure.

In this season, a female player complained that a male player was improperly touching her. What he did was on tape. These complaints led to the producers getting involved and talking with contestants individually and in groups. The issue was discussed at Tribal Council and there have been some recent comments by contestants now that the two episodes have aired. What surprised me was that the woman who made the complaint was voted off the show and, while the man received votes, he appears to have survived the uproar.

What’s true, what’s not? Some contestants say during conversations on the show that the show is a microcosm of what’s happening in society. Do they truly think so? How can we know? Yet, they may be right to some extent for the “touching controversy” brought out a variety of emotions and viewpoints just as the “Me, Too” movement has been volatile in our lives of late. Not that I see Survivor as a true forum for discussing major issues, but what the contestants say is interesting.

It’s been fun seeing how the producers have tinkered with the show over the years to keep it from getting boring and to constantly introduce new options/rules that surprise the contestants. Then, too, we’ve seen a variety of programs featuring former winners, some of whom–over time–have appeared on several seasons. I begin to wonder how many of them will one day say that their career was appearing on Survivor.

There’s probably no good excuse for watching this show more than any other. We tend to watch NCIS, Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, and some other shows every week. It’s relaxing. It’s time away from writing and chores. We tape everything and then watch it later (minus the commercials). With Survivor, we’ve had to watch the show before the night it airs is over because people will be talking–either on the news or Facebook–about what happened. That’s less true today than it was during the show’s first years on the air.

Is this just another addiction, a sensible way to relax, or a legitimate way of learning more about people? I have no idea.